BREAKTHROUGH: Celebrating Onyema Ogbuagbu, Developer of Covid-19 Vaccine- By Prof.M.K. Othman
Updates on Nigerian Inventors: Celebrating Onyema Ogbuagbu, Developer of Covid-19 Vaccine
Readers of this column may recall that from the year, 2016 to 2017, I published a 5-series article titled “Nigerian Born Investors, their Inventions, Challenges, and Opportunities (www.breakthroughwithmkothman.blogspot.com). In the article, I stated that the list of Nigerian inventors and their inventions couldn’t be exhaustive. In a huge country like Nigeria with a deep-rooted diversity and exponential increase in population, invention by “hook or crook” to survive daily challenges of life becomes the order of the day. Necessity makes people think deeply about how to address their problems, constraints, and threats against their living conditions. The invention is about coming up with a great idea, about turning the idea into a product, about making the product workable, and making people aware of the workable product. The product should not only be accepted by the people but should be sellable to recoup the cost of putting it on the market with a huge profit margin. In the year, 2019, I updated my 2016/17 series of articles with another christened “Update on Nigerian born inventors: Celebrating the Invention of Koniku Kore”.
“Koniku Kore” was a name made by the inventor from one of the 100s of multiple local languages being spoken in Nigeria. Koniku Kore was an effort that turned unimaginable into tangible physical reality for the advancement of mankind. An invention that came to the limelight, aimed at making the seemingly ‘impossible’ possible in the global technological revolution as man is striving hard to unearth unsolvable challenges posed by nature. Koniku Kore, a giant invention of the 21st century, a simple device that could fuse live neurons from mice stem cells into a silicon chip. The uses of Koniko Kore are versatile in security, military, and agriculture. An example would be that a single neuro-chip device could sniff out explosives without even seeing it. The device was invented by a USA based Nigerian, Oshi Agabi. The creation of this seemingly synthetic brain is a breakthrough combination of robotics, neurobiology, computing, and bioengineering.
Another update was that of Yusuf Abdulrahman Sambo. A Nigerian who made history in Europe. Sambo is a second-class upper-division, 2010 electrical engineering graduate of our famous Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. Yusuf Sambo earned a Ph.D. degree with ‘flying color’ from the University of Surrey, the UK at the age of 27, a rare feat that made him a Ph.D. genius. He led a research team for 5G testbed, on behalf of Scotland. (https://www.legit.ng/1258755-yusuf-sambo-nigerian-engineer-leading-5g-revolution-scotland.html). The detail of the article can be accessed in my blog.
The inventions made by Nigerians at home and abroad are inexhaustible and perhaps need to be cataloged in a book for references. Some of the inventions have been in existence a long time ago but are recently coming to the limelight while few others were newly made, Nigerians are a special breed of creatures endowed with an above-average level of ingenuity, hard work, and perseverance. Yes, of course, there are a few lazybones in our midst.
It is within this context of innovation and invention that refreshes some of us, rekindles our hopes, aspiration and makes us believe that we shall get out of the current doldrums and march to progress. It is also within the same context that we shall be glad to celebrate Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu, a US-based Nigerian for leading the development of the most virile vaccine against the dreadful Covid-19.
Covid-19 Pandemic is the most horrible and wrecking global phenomenon whose devastating effects continue to bear on us directly or indirectly.
As I am writing this piece, 24th November 2020 at 2010 GMT, Covid-19 Pandemic has globally claimed 1,409,813 lives with 17,092,583 active cases and 41,421,646 recovered or discharged cases. In Nigeria, the Pandemic caused the deaths of 1,168 people translating to four deaths per million Nigerians. Additionally, the active and recovered cases were 3,030 and 62,241, respectively. These figures may not be exactly as they depend on the ability of a country to trace and test all the potential Covid1-19 carriers; the figure increases with the number of people tested over a while. Unfortunately, the year 2020 arrived with Covid-19 whose stock in trade are infections, deaths, and recoveries as it ravages the world.
When Covid-19 came calling, the world was certainly unprepared for its devastating effect. There were panic, anxiety, and uncertainty across the globe. Borders, schools, offices were promptly shut, domestic, international flights and road transports grounded, and we were all seem to be afraid of each other to avoid infection of the dreaded Covid-19. Words like lockdown, social distancing, stay home and safe became our daily utterances. It was like the world has come to an end.
The outbreak was first identified and reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, the people’s Republic of China. From then to date, we were told that there are no specific vaccines or medicines for Covid-19. Thus, the scientists supported by International Pharmaceutical companies across the globe started a cutthroat competition to develop vaccines for the Covid-19. As the Covid-19 is bringing deep sorrow to the generality, authorities of different countries are having sleepiness night to end the Pandemic. Few giant Pharmaceutical companies are cashing on the opportunity to develop vaccines for the Covid-19 and thus, investing heavily. One such company, Pfizer supported Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu in leading the development of Covid-19 Vaccine. Who is Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu? What is the efficacy of the vaccine developed by Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu? To be continued next week.