Written by Godfrey AKON

Covid-19: CBN issues guidelines on research grants

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has issued guidelines on Healthcare Research and Development Grant aimed at funding research on new and improved drugs, vaccines and diagnostics of infectious diseases in the country. 

The apex bank said the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme, HSRDIS, is part of its policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to help strengthen the public healthcare system with innovative financing of research and development.

“Specifically, the HSRDIS is designed to trigger intense national R&D activities to develop a Nigerian vaccine, drugs and herbal medicines against the spread of COVID-19 and any other communicable or non-communicable diseases through the provision of grants to biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies, institutions, researchers, and research institutes for the research and development of drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases,” CBN said.

According to the regulator, the scheme is intended to boost domestic manufacturing of critical drugs and vaccines to ensure their sustainable domestic supply and reduce the bulk manufacturing costs of the drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines in Nigeria.

Recall that earlier in May, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced that the bank was developing a framework under which grants and long term facilities will be provided to researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to develop the Nigerian vaccine.

“Needless to state that if we are to wait for foreign countries to develop their own vaccines, we will be the last in the queue to receive curative remedies for our teeming population.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria today challenges Nigerian scientists at home and in the diaspora to go back to their laboratories and develop a Nigerian vaccine. Once validated by the health authorities, the CBN will step in and do the needful for the sake of over 200 million Nigerians now confronted by COVID-19,” Emefiele said.

Objectives of the scheme include, among other things: to “boost domestic manufacturing of validated drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in Nigeria and reduce the nation’s dependence on other countries for these drugs and vaccines.

“Facilitating partnership between academia (researchers, research institutes and universities) and industry into the research and development of drugs, phytomedicines and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in Nigeria; and Reduce dependence on imported drug products ( synthetic and herbal) and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in Nigeria.”

 

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