Buhari: Why we must empower our scientists to find vaccine for COVID-19 treatment

President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need to empower scientists and medical experts in Nigeria as well as other African countries to join the global search for a vaccine that can treat COVID-19.

This was even as he canvassed synergy among countries across the world to cushion the ravaging effects of the killer virus.

According to a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said this during a virtual summit of heads of state and government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on Monday, in Abuja.

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He said his administration has so far taken several measures to address the effect of the virus on Nigerians including the provision of relief materials to 3.6 million vulnerable households affected by the stay-at-home order.

The statement read: “Two weeks ago, we in West Africa came together to work out a common sub-regional response to the crisis. The summit appointed me the Champion to lead our efforts on fighting the pandemic in our region.

“It is now clearly evident that no nation can independently and singlehandedly tackle a pandemic of this nature which is no respecter of borders, regions or status.

“Invariably, enhancing multilateral cooperation through exchange and sharing of best practices is imperative to overcome the disease. We must, therefore, form a united front against this common enemy by being coordinated and timely in our responses.

“Furthermore, we must all encourage and empower our scientists and medical experts to join the quest for a vaccine and cure to this universal plague.

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“It is, therefore, essential to fully collaborate and support their initiatives in coordinating the international fight against the pandemic. Such efforts should include the protection of our medical workers, provision of medical supplies, especially test kits and ultimately, finding a vaccine to cure the disease.”

The President also said concerted efforts are being put in place to tackle the rapid spread of community transmission of the virus in Nigeria which was evidenced by the sudden surge in the statistics of confirmed cases of those infected with the disease in the country.

He added: “We have closed our land borders and airports and reduced seaport activities in a bid to curb imported cases from entering the country. Unfortunately, the number of confirmed cases continues to rise as a result of community transmission of the disease.

“Accordingly, we have increased our efforts to monitor trends of the disease, established more isolation centres and stepped up testing at the community level and of potentially vulnerable groups.”

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