The Nigerian government on Friday received samples of the COVID-19 vaccine from Russia.
Russia’s ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin, delivered the samples to Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, during a visit Abuja, according to a tweet from the official handle of the Federal Ministry of Health.
“We are expressing our interest in the #COVID19 vaccine so that we will have the opportunity to work elaborately,” the tweet read.
Mr Ehanire said the vaccine would be quickly referred to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as well as the Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development, amongst other agencies, for review and possible validation.
“We are exploring all knowledge in terms of therapeutics and vaccines,” Ehanire said, according to the tweet. “We are expressing our interest in the COVID19 vaccine so that we will have the opportunity to work elaborately.”
Last month, Russia registered the first COVID-19 vaccine becoming the first nation in the world to lay claim to such a feat.
The first peer-reviewed results of Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, which is named Sputnik-V, have been published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday, according to CNN.
Russia faced criticism last month when it announced the world’s first approved coronavirus vaccine for public use, even before Phase 3 trials are completed.
A vaccine must complete three phases of trials – involving randomized controlled trials on large patient groups – before it could be considered for approval, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Russian-made vaccine is still undergoing phase 3 of clinical trials.
Russia also faced skepticism over how quickly the vaccine was registered and the initial lack of scientific data around the clinical trials.
Health experts in South Africa, the first African country to receive samples of the cure are calling for caution in placing much hope on the new vaccine. They said little is known about the efficacy of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Russian government has announced that it will begin mass vaccinations of its citizens against coronavirus from October.