The US embassy in Nigeria and the world at large has celebrated Onyema Ogbuagbu, a Nigerian-born researcher and medical doctor, for his role in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Pfizer and BioNTech had announced that the first vaccine they developed against COVID-19 could prevent more than 90 per cent of people from getting infected.
The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised. Pfizer was quoted as saying it would be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of 2020, and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
Leading Pfizer research for a COVID-19 vaccine is Ogbuagu with years of medical research experience.
The US embassy commended the Nigerian-born doctor for helping “the drug company Pfizer develop the first effective COVID-19 vaccine in the United States”.
“Nigerians contribute to the world in so many ways. Our hats off to Dr Onyema Ogbuagbu at Yale who helped develop a COVID-19 vaccine,” the embassy tweeted.
The US embassy, in its recognition of Ogbuagu’s effort, described it as an “incredible contribution to ending this world-wide pandemic”.
Ogbuagu is one of the twin sons of Chibuzo Ogbuagu, former vice-chancellor of Abia State University, and Stella Ogbuagu, a Professor of Sociology who was a best graduating student of the 1974 class at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). His twin brother is an engineer.
He studied medicine at the University of Calabar, Cross River state, in 2003. After graduation, he interned at the Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, before proceeding to the US.
Ogbuagbu is an associate professor of medicine in the clinician-educator track and director of the HIV clinical trials programme of the Yale AIDS programme at the Yale School of Medicine.
He is Yale principal investigator on multiple investigational therapeutic and preventative clinical trials for COVID-19, including remdesivir (now FDA approved), leronlimab and remdesivir and tocilizumab combination therapy, as well as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial.