How developed economies buy up 51 percent future COVID-19 vaccine doses: Report

*Access to a life-saving vaccine shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you have… COVID-19 anywhere is COVID-19 everywhere, says Oxfam America

*There is need for Nigeria to look beyond developed countries for a vaccine and cure for Coronavirus ─Chief Apollos Keniyinbo, Head of Centre for Creative Scientists in Niger Delta

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the global world hopefully awaits the production and distribution of available and affordable vaccines for everyone for immunisation against the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a group of wealthy nations representing 13 percent of the global population have already bought up more than half of the promised vaccine doses.

Oxfam in a report Wednesday, September 16 analysed deals struck by pharmaceuticals and vaccine producers for the five leading vaccine candidates currently in late-stage trials, based on data collected by the analytics company Airfinity, according to AFP.

Robert Silverman of Oxfam America said of the development: “Access to a life-saving vaccine shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you have.

“The development and approval of a safe and effective vaccine is crucial, but equally important is making sure the vaccines are available and affordable to everyone.

“COVID-19 anywhere is COVID-19 everywhere.”

The Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) analysed the five vaccines from AstraZeneca, Gamaleya/Sputnik, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinovac.

Report says Oxfam calculated the combined production capacity of these five vaccine candidates at 5.9 billion doses, enough for three billion people given that all five future vaccines will or are highly likely to require two doses.

According to the group, supply deals have so far been agreed for 5.3 billion doses, of which 2.7 billion (51 per cent) have been bought by developed countries, territories and regions, including the US, UK, European Union, Australia, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel.

However, the remaining 2.6 billion doses have been bought by or promised to develop countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, among others, report stated.

The non-profit added that one of the leading candidates, developed by Moderna, has received $2.5 billion in committed taxpayers’ money, but has said it intends to make a profit and has sold the options for all its supply to rich nations.

Oxfam and other organisations are therefore calling for a “people’s vaccine” free of charge, distributed fairly based on need.

Oxfam stated: “This will only be possible if pharmaceutical corporations allow vaccines to be produced as widely as possible by freely sharing their knowledge free of patents, instead of protecting their monopolies and selling to the highest bidder.”

The estimated cost of providing a vaccine for everyone on earth was less than one per cent of the projected cost of COVID-19 to the global economy, it added.

ConsumerConnect recalls that Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) while expressing its support for the development of local content in getting a cure for COVID-19 epidemic in the country, has assured indigenous scientists of collaboration in the development of drugs or vaccines against the damaging virus.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, in an interview Tuesday, June 23, in Abuja, FCT, said that the agency would open its doors to the scientists working on a vaccine for the COVID-19 disease.

Adeyeye stated though it takes time to develop a vaccine, “that testing will involve use of the virus and then animals. If all goes well, the researchers will then plan for clinical trial which will take a long time from 18 months to years.

Besides other recent indigenous efforts at finding a cure for COVID-19, Chief Apollos Keniyinbo, an indigenous scientist, Tuesday, September 15, 2020, also solicited the support of stakeholders to showcase a solution which he claimed to have found for the novel Coronavirus.

Keniyinbo, who heads the Centre for Creative Scientists in the Niger Delta region of the country, spoke with News Agency of Nigeria in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, said that there was need for Nigeria to look beyond the developed countries for a vaccine and cure for the virus.

He stated: “I am appealing to government at all levels to create an environment that will let the science community to verify and validate what I have done so far.

“From when the pandemic broke out in China, I started working on a solution and in February 2020, my formulation was ready, but as we speak, I have not been given the opportunity to present my findings for scrutiny.”

The Analytical Chemistry professional said he was conversant with the procedures and processes for vaccine production.

He added: “I am very willing, but I have not been given the attention.

“I have approached the Bayelsa Office of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and my interactions with it showed that it is positioned for drug manufacturing process inspection, registration and regulation and not research findings.

“The stage of this (the solution) has not got to mass production yet, so I have approached the Southern Ijaw Local Government and Bayelsa Government to help me to get the attention of relevant authorities to look at my remedy.

“I am very sure that my solution is effective and I have even administered it on myself and it is not toxic at all.”

According to him, the solution had four components that formed the therapy which he was ready to produce for validation and trials.

The Head of Centre for Creative Scientists in Niger Delta added that “the solution I have developed is effective for prevention and cure, and by using, it I have no fear whatsoever of COVID-19.

“Mine is a combination therapy administered by injection, and the samples I produced are still available.

“The process has been documented in the scientific format; all that is left is to mass produce the documentation which includes the formulae and dosage modules.”

He further disclosed that he is being hampered by his inability to get approvals for trials, claiming that he would have gone far, if the scientific validation process had taken off when he formulated the remedy in February 2020.

Indigenous scientists not in the medical science field face obstacles in submitting their remedies for evaluation and validation, he submitted.

Additional reporting by Gbenga Kayode

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