NIMR, Stakeholders Launch Canada-Africa Mpox Partnership, Fixture 68 Researchers

The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research and other stakeholders in the country have launched the Canada-Africa Mpox Partnership.

The event was aimed at curbing the spread of Mpox and studying the dynamics of its transmission from human to human.

The other institutions in the project are the University of Ilorin, the Slum and Rural Health Initiative Network, the Institute Of Human Virology In Nigeria, and the Maryland Global Initiative Corporation.

The project is in partnership with the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the International Development Research Centre.

During the event on Wednesday, Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director-General of NIMR, said the Nigeria consortium would work with their Canadian partners to help inform the clinical and public health response to local and global epidemics of Mpox.

Salako said 68 researchers with multi-disciplinary expertise from Canada, Nigeria, the U.S., and the United Kingdom would work on the project that would involve community engagements from inception.

“The good thing about this project is that it will provide the needed information for stakeholders in the project to understand transmission dynamics and evaluate medical countermeasures of Mpox in Nigeria and Canada.

“The stakeholders include not just researchers but also the communities who will be participating in the project.

“If at the end of the project, there is a very useful result, this can be translated in the communities to improve their health status,” he said.

The D-G, however, reiterated the need for a medical research council to fund research works peculiar to Nigeria.

He said, “Many nations have agencies that fund health research directly but we don’t have that here in Nigeria and that is why health research appears to have been funded poorly.

“The body funding the CAMP project is the Canadian Institute of Health Research; if we have such a body, we will be able to fund research on health issues that affect us directly.”

Prof. Rosemary Audu, the Principal Investigator of CAMP Nigeria, said the project would focus on three topics across diverse epidemiological, geo-social, and health system contexts involving Mpox transmission, treatment, and vaccines.

Audi, who is also the Director of Research at NIMR, said the two central components of the CAMP project were multi-directional capacity building and community engagement.

“In the first sub-project, CAMP researchers will work to understand transmission from multiple angles and the second sub-project will involve conducting a random contrail trial to access the safety and effectiveness of the smallpox drug tecovirimat as a treatment for the disease.

” The third sub-project which is the last will focus on evaluating the role of immune vaccine to prevent Mpox infection in humans.

“We have also received ethical clearance from the National Health Insurance Ethics to commence field operation from April for 12 months period and we commend the Canadian institute for funding the project,” she said.

Also, Dr. Evaezi Okpokoro, a public health physician who specialized in infectious diseases, presented the project work plan during the event.

Okpokoro, also a researcher at the Institute of Human Virology, said the investigators would investigate to understand the mechanism of transmission in comparison with the Canadian group.

He added that the CAMP Nigeria team would co-develop regional capacity around rapid clinical trials, biostatistics, and mathematical remodeling which would be valuable in responding to future infectious disease challenges.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *