By Adedapo Adesanya
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will fund research for a coronavirus vaccine in Nigeria.
Governor of the apex bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, made the disclosure on Tuesday, at the unveiling of THISDAY Dome testing, tracing, and treatment centre in Abuja.
Mr Emefiele said the bank was currently designing a framework which includes grants and long-term facilities for researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to develop a Nigerian vaccine.
He also revealed that the CBN recently launched a N100 billion healthcare intervention fund and several initiatives such as the provision of N1 trillion facility for firms operating in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
“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.
“Practitioners in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors will be able to access finance at a single-digit rate through this fund.
“We are also working with financial institutions to enable the continuous flow of credit to viable businesses while putting in place provisions such as moratoriums and restructuring of existing loans under CBN intervention funds, that have been provided to businesses,” Mr Emefiele said at the event.
No vaccine has been found yet but major countries are working towards it, and with this move, Nigeria aims to join those in pursuit for a vaccine against the contagion that has infected about 4.3 million people globally and killed more than 293,000 since December last year.
It is believed that getting a vaccine for the virus could take more than a year.
Some Nigerians have claimed to have cure for the disease, including the Ooni of Ife, who proposed a herbal concoction as well as former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, who said he has a drug that can be used as a COVID-19 vaccine.
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