The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has committed 450 million Naira to the development of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine in the next 18 months.
Each year, however, more than $500 million is necessary for concrete economic research.
Prof. Poopola Mustapha, Nigerian Project Manager of the COVID-19 Research Coalition (NCRC), said at a colloquium organized by the coalition yesterday in Abuja that about $500 million was needed for research and development in the health sector, and that the African Union (AU) proposal “is that countries should set aside one percent of their GDP as a contribution for research and development” (R&D).
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has pledged 450 million Naira to the cause of developing a COVID-19 candidate vaccine within the next 18 months.
However, over $500 million is required each year for concrete economic research.
Nigerian Project Manager Prof. Poopola Mustapha, of the COVID-19 Research Coalition (NCRC), stated this at a colloquium organized by the coalition yesterday in Abuja, hinted that about $500 million was required for research and development in the health sector, and that the African Union (AU) proposal “is that countries should set aside one percent of their GDP as a contribution for research and development” (R&D).
According to him: “Our National GDP is $500 billion and one per cent of this is $5 billion. Presently, the highest grant portfolio for research is around $20 million. The health sector is in the requirement of nothing less than $500 million yearly to have concrete research that could be of impact on the economy.
“For the first time in the country, TETFund is capitalising on research and development that has an interface between the government, private sector and the academia, and we are actually focusing on the people.
“TETFund used to concentrate on funding for research and development only in the tertiary education sector, but for the first time, it brought together five institutions that are having real-time business in terms of the development of vaccines in the country, using the COVID-19 model.
“The institutions involved include the National Veterinary Research Institute (NDRI), Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto; the University of Jos and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), as “we are looking at the reagents component of what is needed so that it can be produced locally”, he explained.
Speaking also at the event, the Coordinator of NCRC, Dr. Chinwe Ochu, while advocating for domestic funding for the pandemic and other health research in the country said that her organisation was set up to conduct COVID-19 research, but regretted the absence of dedicated funding.