Arole Oodua and Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II), is partnering with Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti on a clinical research aimed at developing drugs and vaccines for viral infections with special focus on Coronavirus Disease.
Ooni Ogunwusi made this known at his Ile-Oodua palace on Monday while receiving reports from his Clinical Research Team.
Oonirisa Ogunwusi after the donation of motorised modular fumigator to Ekiti State on April 30, 2020 paid a courtesy call on Founder of ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola, to discuss further on moving health of the nation forward.
Ooni Ogunwusi after the presentation of the locally designed motorised modular fumigator to the university, poured encomiums on Aare Babalola for his great interest in education and health, describing the legal luminary as a rare asset to the continent of Africa.
He said: “Baba Afe Babalola at the age of over 90 is still very committed to the greatness of Africa.
“Nigeria is indeed blessed to have him and I am particularly blessed to have him as a descendant of Oduduwa.
“He has already invested millions of dollars in the ABUAD College of Medicine, which is very outstanding in Africa, and he is currently making great efforts to upgrade his Laboratory to Level 4 Biosafety that can handle very sensitive and other deadly infections like COVID-19.
“There is a need to develop joint clinical research on drugs and vaccines from plants/herbs to fight the COVID-19 infection with its peculiarity in the black race.
“With this, lots of vaccines to prevent sensitive and deadly infections will be rolled out for use globally.
“This is unprecedented!
“May the Almighty Olodumare keep this Baba Afe Babalola for us.”
Ooni, who doubles as Spiritual Head of the Oduduwa Race Worldwide and Co-Chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, used the occasion to call on the Nigerian Government and wealthy people in the country to support the university researchers and partner on massive industrial revolution that will enable internal solutions to national challenges.
He said: “It is very shocking that many professors have found solutions to sickle cell disease and other ailments in Nigeria but received no support for research from the government.
“We must look inward and solve our problems by ourselves.
“There is no need for our government officials and wealthy ones to go abroad for medical checkups.
“They should rather focus their resources on making Nigeria medical system work better.
“Now that the House of Oduduwa under my watch and Afe Babalola University are about to start aggressive clinical research against all deadly diseases, including COVID-19, it is about time we stopped looking up to the foreigners to solve our problems for us.
“It is so marvellous.
“What else do we want?
“With the ABUAD Multi -System Hospital and research facilities in place, we do not have to go outside Nigeria again for solutions to our medical problems.”
Ooni Ogunwusi added that YEMKEM Herbal Therapy, a Lagos-based globally recognized African Medicine expert, has been a reliable partner in the mixture of herbal solutions.
He added: “The herbal solutions will be unveiled soonest and forwarded to National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, hoping they will review and respond to us very promptly.
“The herbal formulations will eventually be taken a step further for vaccine development with the partnership with research groups in ABUAD and availability of clinical and laboratory research facilities.
“I rejoiced because the facilities will enable our herbal solutions go through the clinical rigours and transforming it to be internationally acceptable.
“The research on the Herbal Mix right now has started and Dr. Akintunde Ayeni of YEMKEM Herbal Therapy and us have been working assiduously on these herbal solutions
“Recently, I proffered some mix solutions, which I inherited from this throne as the custodian of cultural heritage of the Oduduwa race.
“A team of four from the research unit of the House of Oduduwa Initiative, which include Prof. Esimai, presented the mixture to the founder of ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola, who immediately constituted a research group to develop drugs and vaccines from the herbal mixture.
“ABUAD Teaching Hospital is second to none.
“This is a major breakthrough, another interesting thing in the Alternative Medicine (herbal world).
“I just thank God for Baba Afe Babalola, who is now challenging younger professors.
“With this, we now have solutions to vaccines.
“Vaccines of COVID-19 and several alternative medicines in clinical ways.”
Prof Olapeju Esimai in her report thanked the Ooni for the opportunity given her and the research team in House of Oduduwa Initiative to work with Afe Babalola University’s medical research team on drug and vaccine development from the herbal mix made from calcium salts and processed leaf plants.
Esimai also stated that the team was introduced by Aare Babalola to the Provost of College of Sciences at the university, Prof. Abiodun Ojo.
The ABUAD research groups on the drugs and vaccine development include Prof. Ojo, Prof. O. Okiki (Microbiologist), Prof. O. Onasanya (Molecular Biologist), Prof. S. Sanya (Provost of College of Medicine and Clinician who has worked on local herbs), great number of researchers, laboratory technologists and graduate students.
The research group held the inaugural meeting on May 6, 2020 and since then series of meetings have been held and work is in full progress.
Esimai, who made a brief presentation at the inaugural meeting, informed the research group that the herbal mixture have been used on people with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection and there have been remissions of the symptoms within few days.
However for wider and continued use, the mixture needs to be compounded into drugs and vaccine need to be developed.
Esimai said: “The drug and vaccine development are in phases.
“The first phase is the drug development.
“This entails analysis of the mixture for microbial, mental, photochemical, chemical characterisation, toxicity, pharmacological and medicinal property classification.”
The second phase, according to her, which is the vaccine development, will involve animal experiments to derive antibodies to the introduction of recombinant protein antigens of different viruses.
These experiments will take place in the laboratory, which is about level 4 Biosafety, while the third phase is the clinical trials.
Esimai, a public health consultant to WHO, UNICEF and many other international health agencies, also current Head of the Community Health Department, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, said the members of the research group were so enthusiastic and as such work has commenced immediately.
Aare Babalola, who had earlier received the Ooni’s Research Team in his office, praised the African foremost monarch for his partnership with the university, describing him as a great monarch with visionary leadership, promising his best to make the research a huge success.
He said: “I have already dedicated my life to humanity.
“What else am I looking for in this world?
“God has been so kind to me.
“That’s why I must be so kind to the humanity too.
“Even if I have to increase the laboratory from Level 4, I will do so without any hesitation, so that this partnership can be a huge success.
“All my life has been challenges.
“I never saw the four walls of the university, but I have several university degrees.
“It is my happiness that Arole Oodua Ooni of Ife has visited us to see what we have here at Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti and he (Ooni) is impressed.
“He is a great African king with visionary and pragmatic leadership.”
It will be recalled that the Ooni of Ife, two months ago, had prescribed herbal solutions as potential treatment for the coronavirus pandemic.
He later unveiled his invented motorised modular fumigators, from which he has given two each to the 36 states of Nigeria and FCT.