Finally, victims of snakebite will have hope from the snake venom as the African Centre for Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development, University of Jos in collaboration with the National Office of Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has today unveiled the first indigenous and World anti-snake vaccine called COVIP-Plus in Abuja.
The presentation was convened at a national forum on the promotion of Anti-Snake Venom (COVIP-Plus) for commercialization organized by NOTAP and ACEPRD held at Kanem Suit, Utako, Abuja.
Snakebite has been described as one of the neglected public health issues that require critical interventions from both private and public institution. Current treatment of snake bites has remained monovalent and sometimes expensive (polyvalent), thus the introduction of the new vaccine to minimize the mortality and morbidity rates in the country will go a long way
Addressing the gathering during the unveiling, Prof. John Aguiyi, the chief inventor and Centre Leader of African Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development, University of Jos, said the breakthrough was borne out of the desire to provide affordable and available anti-snake vaccine for Nigerians, especially farmers.
He said, the product is now ready and can be deployed to market after NAFDAC approves it for a clinical trial, which is the only certificate required before it can be commercialized to the public.
He added, ‘We have developed the process of manufacturing and we cloned it. With cloning, we can manufacture as many kilograms as we will need.
While speaking on its potency, Aguiyi said what distinguished this from the current one in use is that, ‘‘the one in circulation has to be refrigerated, order wise it will lose its potency. Though they are purported to have been originated in Nigeria but this statement is far from the truth as we know where they are produced. It is the first in the world because going through the literature; you will not find a plant-derived anti-snake vaccine. That is what made it to be unique. It was not a day’s journey, took almost 24 years with potency and endurance.
He called on government, private sector, pharmaceutical companies, and NAFDAC to partner with ACEPRD and NOTAP in the effort to commercialize the product.