The Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo College, Ile-Ife, Eyitope Ogunbodede, is a professor of Preventive and Neighborhood Dentistry. He tells FEMI MAKINDE on this interview what the college is doing to deal with COVID-19 and what must be performed to rework the nation’s ailing well being sector amongst different points
Is there hope of discovering treatment to coronavirus anytime quickly?
There may be what known as herd immunity anytime there may be epidemic or pandemic. After someday, the illness will not be lethal as it’s now as a result of folks will form of develop immunity to it. The primary assault of each new pandemic is all the time very vicious however after someday, the illness will grow to be much less extreme. That’s one factor that we are able to hope for in such a pandemic. Another epidemics and pandemics that ravaged humanity turned much less vicious after someday and that’s the reason malaria fever is not as lethal because it was once on this a part of the world. If malaria immediately seems in Europe, it could wipe them off however we now have grown some sort of resistance to it right here. That’s the reason some folks can have malaria and won’t take into account it to be a really critical subject. Coronavirus is ravaging the entire world now and everyone is discovering a treatment for it and identical to different illnesses, a treatment can be discovered.
The simplest one is vaccine. When one is vaccinated, antibodies are developed and that’s the best method to deal with it nevertheless it takes time. You might be to check such vaccines in animals and you then proceed to check them on some people earlier than you should utilize it for the overall inhabitants. This can take nothing lower than six months. Vaccines usually are not what one will produce in the present day and can begin utilizing the identical day.
Is the OAU additionally engaged in analysis to provide a vaccine for this virus?
We’re not working in that route now. However what we now have been doing in OAU from time is that we now have been taking a look at our pure merchandise to see which ones is sweet towards fairly quite a few illnesses. That has been on in our College of Pharmacy and we now have fairly quite a few crops and pure merchandise which might be truly efficient towards micro organism and towards viruses. What our persons are taking a look at in our College of Pharmacy is to have a look at whether or not a few of these merchandise are even efficient towards coronavirus.
Are they working in the direction of that now on the college?
The College of Pharmacy is doing that. All people on the college now’s taking a look at what will be performed to reduce the consequences of coronavirus. However it isn’t all the things you rush to provide the media earlier than the result’s out. Some persons are boasting that they’ve produced hand sanitisers however we now have performed that very long time in the past and we don’t must make any noise about that. That’s not the sort of achievement we need to promote. We would like a product that we are able to say, that is what we developed at OAU and everyone will probably be pleased with it.
What do you suppose is hindering Nigerian universities from partnering, for instance, drug manufacturing firms to develop medication that everyone will probably be pleased with?
Universities are alleged to give you analysis after which get patents for no matter they give you and the trade can take it up. It isn’t the enterprise of an instructional to start out advertising and marketing merchandise. Lecturers are alleged to be within the laboratories finishing up analysis. The enterprise facet will probably be taken over by both the enterprise arm of the college or by the trade. Final 12 months in OAU, we had about seven patents.
Are these patents received for medication?
They’re for medication however one is for machine that can be utilized to course of plenty of issues. 5 of the patents are drug associated. A former appearing Vice Chancellor of OAU, Prof Anthony Elujoba, had one for a drug. We’re taking a look at creating and advertising and marketing these as a college. The college is definitely working and we’re making progress.
There was a reported case of Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo final week. Do you suppose Nigeria has any trigger to be apprehensive about this?
Regardless of that we now have shut our borders, we must always comply with what is going on there and in each a part of the world in order that that may make us to arrange forward. In actual fact, each nation must be apprehensive if one thing like that is occurring abroad and the reason being as a result of the world has really grow to be a worldwide village
The lengthy distance was once a barrier however the distance between one nation and the opposite has been shortened.
Lengthy prior to now, when you needed to journey to the UK, it will take about three months as a result of then folks travelled by ship. However now, inside seven hours or so, you might be there. So, if there’s a virus within the UK, what meaning is such virus can get to Nigeria in about seven hours in contrast to earlier than that it will spend nothing lower than three months. Now, folks will be in three continents in about 24 hours. For instance, when you fly from Nigeria to London or Amsterdam (Europe) and from there to the USA, you left Africa and cease in Europe and get to America inside 24 hours. So we at the moment are near the remainder of the world than earlier than. We must be ever prepared for issues like lethal viruses as a result of it received’t take greater than 12 hours to come back to Nigeria from DR Congo.
Earlier than coronavirus got here, we have been battling with Lassa fever and even battling with it now and it’s killing folks. As medical folks, there may be what known as common precaution and we now have to take precautions. Most of this stuff don’t present on the faces of the carriers. Particularly medical professionals should be suspicious of each affected person they’re attending to as a result of they don’t present on the faces at occasions. They should do all the things humanly doable to not get contaminated. Whether or not any affected person check optimistic for Lassa fever, Ebola virus or coronavirus, medical professionals have to use common precautions. Fairly a quantity jettison that precept as a result of our hospitals lack private protecting gear. We’re Africans, we wish to be good to folks however this should not be performed on the expense of your life. You don’t attend to any affected person with out gloves however when you say the hospital doesn’t have gloves and the affected person can’t afford it and also you go forward and deal with a affected person with a lethal virus, you might be exposing your self to pointless danger. I inform my college students, don’t assist any affected person on the detriment of your individual life. In case you can’t improvise, insist on doing what is correct as a result of when you contract any illness, you find yourself depleting the variety of medical professionals which might be insufficient. Sure issues are so vital just like the masks, the gloves; they need to be out there in our hospitals. If medical doctors and others have been treating sufferers earlier than with out masks and gloves, they can’t proceed doing that now. It’s obligatory now.
Out of Lassa fever, Ebola virus and coronavirus, which one will you say is the deadliest?
Any illness that may kill is lethal, so that you don’t fee illnesses like that. Malaria will be very lethal in infants however when the kid had developed immunity towards it, malaria will not be that lethal to them. These three that you just talked about can kill and the precautions towards them are nearly the identical.
However coronavirus is raging in the entire world now as a result of it’s extremely infectious. When anyone comes throughout an individual with Lassa fever, if the blood doesn’t contact their blood or saliva touches theirs, they received’t be contaminated. So, it’s doable for an individual with Lassa fever to roam about in a neighborhood for a month with out infecting others. However when you could have anyone with coronavirus, he’ll infect others simply. The speed of an infection of coronavirus is concerning the highest that has ever been recorded and that’s the reason it’s threatening the entire world. So, that’s the reason the federal government is asking folks to remain at residence and to take care of social distancing rule to cease its unfold.
Keep-at-home-order is being threatened by starvation and hoodlums who go about terrorising folks. What do you suppose will be performed to deal with this?
There is no such thing as a single key that opens the doorways in the entire world and that’s the reason each neighborhood ought to research itself and give you a method that most accurately fits it. In case you take a look at what they did in China, they allowed husband to exit at some point and the spouse can be at residence and the subsequent day, the spouse can be allowed to exit whereas the husband would keep at residence. They didn’t ask everyone to remain at residence the identical day. What the Osun State Authorities is doing now permitting folks to exit on two days-Wednesdays and Thursdays however as from Thursday midnight, everyone goes inside once more. We’ve got to have a look at this example in a technical manner that’s humane however answer nonetheless stays that individuals ought to keep at residence and keep secure. There must be minimal contact and the way we do it ought to depend upon society and the surroundings
Is there no manner the college is positively affecting the lives of the folks in its rapid surroundings particularly right now of lockdown?
We’ve got despatched out messages to the college neighborhood and our rapid surroundings to advise them on steps to take and issues like which might be vital. We’ve got additionally produced leaflets translated into Yoruba language and distributed to the folks to enlighten them on the best way to defend themselves. We inform them coronavirus has not received a drugs now.
We’ve got produced hand sanitiser and have distributed this product to the folks in the neighborhood and we’re additionally encouraging them to scrub their palms commonly with cleaning soap and water. We even have our COVID-19 Committee.
What’s the perform of the committee?
The committee developed the neighborhood enlightenment programmer and it’s taking a look at regardless of the college can do to assist the federal government right now. The committee is chaired by the Provost of Well being Science.
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