Nigerian doctor at centre of Covid vaccine breakthrough

One of the people behind the Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough is a Nigerian, Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu.

Ogbuagu is the lead researcher in America for Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company that two weeks ago announced it had developed the first vaccine against Covid that could prevent more than 90% of people getting infected.

The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised. Pfizer has said it will be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of 2020, and around 1,3 billion by the end of 2021.

Ogbuagu, an associate professor of medicine and director of HIV clinical trials at the Yale School of Medicine, said the drug will be “the beginning of the end of the pandemic”.

Optimism following Pfizer and its partner company BioNTech’s American-German breakthrough was enhanced when another company, Moderna, announced that its trials are proving equally successful.

In both cases it represents one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in a decade by developing a novel type of vaccine.

Ogbuagu comes from an overachieving family. His father Chibuzo Ogbuagu is a former vice-chancellor of Abia State University, and his mother Stella Ogbuagu, a professor of sociology. His twin brother is an engineer.

Ogbuagu is deeply involved in clinical work in Africa and is on the faculty of a health programme in Rwanda.

Photo: @DrOnyemaOgbuagu