Worried by high cost of vaccines and to meet the global target of ending Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by 2030, the Federal Government (F.G.) through the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has initiated the process of developing a vaccine locally.
Director General of NACA, Dr. Sani Aliyu, yesterday, in Abuja, at a press conference to mark the 20th anniversary of the annual HIV Vaccine Advocacy Day, said recent developments have indicated that the quest by Nigeria to develop an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine is realisable.
Aliyu said that the process of vaccine development for other diseases has always been slow and laborious, yet feasible. He also said Nigeria has so far made achieved dramatic success in increasing coverage of HIV treatment, care and existing prevention options. He also disclosed that there is also a pipeline of trials and early-stage research focusing on improving upon existing regimens and testing novel vaccine strategies.
He emphasised that Nigeria is complementing global efforts, assuring that government has taken the issue of vaccine development seriously while ensuring Nigerians have more access to HIV/AIDS treatment options, especially the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of the pandemic.
He said the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has taken on this task and is working with us (NACA) and other HIV prevention Research advocates and partners in the country on how to fast-track the HIV Vaccine research agenda so that Nigeria is not left behind.’
Executive Director, International Research Center of Excellence (IRCE), Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), Prof. Alashle Abimiku, also emphasised on the possibility of developing an effective vaccine. She said research so far has given positive indications.