Covid-19: Vaccine development not by intuition
Sequel to the calls by various institutions, both private and public, some high profile individuals and proposals by institution & agencies on indigenous development of vaccine or cure for the COVID pandemic, I consider it a great measure of service to humanity to caution this rush which could be detrimental in the nearest future to our basic health care system.
I am not a medical practitioner but my background in crop protection and plant health systems as they relate to the epidemiology and development of management strategies to combat plant diseases birthed this intervention.
A lot of science and brain storming are required to develop control strategies (conventional or organic) against plant diseases and much more if such pest belongs to the invasive or quarantine categories.
The development process of control package involve experiments to understand biology of the pest, mode & time/season of invasion, life cycle, potential host, alternate host, virulence, pathogenicity etc.
Also the choice of active ingredients/it’s combinations that will combat the pathogen, the mode of action of the active ingredient(s), effect of such on the pathogen, the host, the ecosystem & environment (terrestrial, aquatic etc) and their inhabitants.
Not to mention the approval of such a.i. by international regulatory bodies and development of safety standards prior to any trial.
I am also aware that after such formulations are developed, the approval takes consecutive years of laboratory and field trials to validate its efficacy prior to registrations by relevant government agencies before mass production is approved for public use following the gazette safety standards.
If these much science is required to combat endangered plant species invaded by pest, how much more to develop vaccine to be used on humans.
I have not taking any recourse to a number of ethical issues involved with international health agencies, consent of trial patients and funding. It is obvious, this rush to make vaccine against Covid-19 will not only be a mirage but a misplaced priority. Currently, our healthcare system is obviously scored below average and that’s in areas where they even exist in the first instance.
However, this is a major challenge to the medical research facilities, experts and government at all levels to work out a long term plan of which funding is paramount while we take clues from the developed world. Fortunately science doesn’t work by colour and our country has the required man-power and expertise to take up this challenge.
Dele Adeniyi PhD.