Nigerian researchers at the African Center of Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development (ACEPRD) have developed the first ever genetically engineered anti snake venom vaccine.
The inventor, Prof. John Aguiyi and co-inventor, Prof. Abraham Dogo are lecturers at University of Jos, Plateau State.
Dogo, who spoke to NAN on Wednesday on the sideline of the ongoing Technology and Innovation Expo 2019 in Enugu, said that the vaccine called Covip-plu addressed a major need in the medical world.
He said that the breakthrough was the first in the world, adding that the vaccine could cure all manner of snake bites by creating immunological activity through the inhibition of two enzymes of protein and tripsin.
“This is a highly immunogenic vaccine that addresses urgent medical needs. It is a product of updated genetic engineering.
“The primary material is got from an indigenous plant called gpMuc that is glycoprotein Mucuna Pruriens seed.
“The vaccine is thermo-stable which means it can withstand temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius,” he said.
The don said that Covip-plus which was taken as an injection was easy to prepare and relatively cheaper that other anti snake bite vaccines.
“When injected, it produces molecular and bio-chemical reactions in the body that in turn produce anti-bodies that protect you against snake bite in case you are exposed,” he said,\.
He said that the invention was borne out of a mandate by the World Health Organisation (WHO) aimed at deploying indigenous products to tackle global and international health issues.
Dogo said that snake bite was one of such international and major health issues.
He appealed to governments, investors, national and international research institutions to collaborate with the center in order to provide necessary funds for commercialisation of the product.
He said that the product would be very useful in snake belts, particularly agrarian areas.
“This invention is a multi-billion naira project that will help improve the health of the people, avoid food insecurity since farmers are the most hit in snake belts,” he said.
Dogo also said that the product would provide employment opportunities.
NAN reports that the product is one of six inventions on exhibition by the University of Jos.