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Reps advise WHO against bias in COVID-19 vaccine trial

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The House of Representatives has enjoined the World Health Organisation (WHO) to guard against discriminatory practices in the search for a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Chairman of the House Committee on Healthcare Services, Mr. Tanko Sununu, made the call when the new Country Representative of WHO, Dr. Walter Mulombo, visited him at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.

Sununu applauded WHO’s role in the containment of the pandemic, stressing that “countries of the world must be allowed to have unfettered access to the vaccine irrespective of their status in the comity of nations.”

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Thanking WHO for leading the fight against COVID-19, he called on the United Nations’ body to always “remember the principles of ethics, especially now that we are moving towards a lot of multi-centred, multi-national clinical trial to ensure the principle of justice in medical researches is attained.

“By justice, it means that all human beings are equal and the benefits of it must be extended to all; so that no segment of the world would be used as a guinea pig in trying to achieve the goal. This is the only way one would see WHO as being fair in its fight against COVID-19.”

He expressed appreciation to WHO for supporting the National Assembly over the years and pledged cooperation in the ratification of conventions to ensure universal health coverage.

MEANWHILE, a contract research organisation for early phase discovery, Cresset Discovery Services, has used computational tools to work with ZEAB Therapeutic, a company developing a treatment for colorectal cancer, to design models for treatment of the disease.

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The first rounds of modelling provided valuable working hypotheses called ZEAB 1-8, which will stimulate further research and exploitation for ZEAB.

Being the third most common globally, bowel cancer is one of the most common causes of deaths in the world.
 
According to Arnold M, Sierra MS, Laversanne M, global patterns and trends in colorectal cancer and mortality (Gut 2017; 66:683-691), it is anticipated that this would increase by over 60 per cent in the next 10 years, resulting in 2.2 million new cases and 1.1 million deaths.
 
Director of Consulting Services, Cresset Discovery Services, Dr. Martin Slater, said: “Having completed in excess of 300 contract research projects for many of the leading pharmaceutical, biotech, agrochemical, flavour and fragrance companies, our CADD scientists are often hired to bridge resource gaps.
 
“In an ongoing project for ZEAB Therapeutic, we are using the Flare structure-based design platform to model key components responsible for the observed cellular activity to enable the design and development of better drugs to fight a very concerning condition, with major impact on people’s lives.”
 
Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ZEAB Therapeutic, Dr. Bene Ekine-Afolabi, stated: “Working with Cresset Discovery Services has been an insightful and empowering journey for ZEAB. As we don’t have our own in-house computational chemistry team, access to their computational experts and the software solutions they have applied has been invaluable in progressing our drug development activities.”

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