Experts harp on genomic intelligence to fight diseases, produce vaccines
• GET Consortium, Lagos govt to hold health/biosecurity conference
Concerned about the threat of infectious diseases and vaccine insufficiency in the country, medical experts are advocating universal approaches such as genomic intelligence to address biosecurity threats and boost local vaccine production.
Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, yesterday, in Lagos, at a press briefing to announce the 7th African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity, said genomic intelligence would be vigorous, with significant measures taken to mitigate the potency of current and future epidemics as well as keeping pace with effective vaccines production.
Abayomi said the conference, organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Health, is in alliance with Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET). He said it would welcome participants, policymakers, researchers, scientists and other interested parties.
He said the concept of One Health is necessary for ensuring biosecurity and all-around health.
The commissioner further advised Lagosians not to dodge COVID-19 vaccines, saying the mortality rate of unvaccinated people doubles that of the vaccinated.
Abayomi said the non-stop emergence of new strains, especially the Delta Variant, reduced the potency of existing vaccines. This, according to him is one of the reasons some vaccinated persons still catch the virus and others die even after taking one or two jabs.
“We (African countries) didn’t test run the vaccines after lots of trials carried out abroad. This does not mean we just received vaccines and started vaccinating the citizens. We have consulted some data that indicate the safety of the vaccines and major finding shows that taking the vaccines would strengthen our immunity against the virus,” said the commissioner.
He noted that by the end of the year, Lagos would vaccinate 30 per cent of its population. He also said the state is doubling preventive measures, given the large number of people who would troop in for Christmas and New Year festivities.
The measures, according to him, would not discourage open economy but ensure safety is maintained.
Abayomi said the conference, scheduled to hold at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos, from October 27-29, would hold in-person and virtually. This is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
He urged interested persons to log on to the GET website to register.
GET’s Chief Operation Officer, Ayodotun Bobadoye, said this year’s conference theme is ‘Universal Approach to Addressing Biosecurity Threats – Genomic Intelligence and Vaccines.’
Bobadoye said experts who would speak at the conference include Vice-Chancellor, University of the West Indies, Sir Hillary Beckles (lead speaker); Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi; and epidemiologist cum vaccinologist at the South African Cochrane Centre, Prof. Charles Wiysonge.