The United States embassy in Nigeria celebrates Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu, a Nigerian-born Yale Medicine infectious disease doctor, for his key role in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech had announced that the first vaccine they developed against COVID-19 could prevent more than 90 percent of people from getting infected.
The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised. Pfizer was quoted as saying it would be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of 2020, and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021. Leading Pfizer research for a COVID-19 vaccine is Ogbuagu with years of medical research experience.
In a tweet on Monday, the US embassy commended the Nigerian-born doctor for helping “the drug company Pfizer develop the first effective COVID-19 vaccine in the United States”.
“Nigerians contribute to the world in so many ways. Our hats off to Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu at Yale who helped develop a COVID-19 vaccine,” the tweet reads.
The US embassy, in its recognition of Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu’s effort, described it as an “incredible contribution to ending this world-wide pandemic”.
Ogbuagu is one of the twin sons of Chibuzo Ogbuagu, a former vice-chancellor of Abia State University, and Stella Ogbuagu, a professor of sociology who was best graduating student of the 1974 class at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). His twin brother is an engineer.
He studied medicine at the University of Calabar, Cross River state, in 2003. After graduation, he interned at the Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, before proceeding to the US.
Dr. Ogbuagu is an associate professor of medicine in the clinician-educator track and director of the HIV clinical trials programme of the Yale AIDS programme at the Yale School of Medicine.
He is Yale principal investigator on multiple investigational therapeutic and preventative clinical trials for COVID-19, including remdesivir (now FDA approved), leronlimab and remdesivir and tocilizumab combination therapy.
Approximately 250 volunteers were enrolled in the Pfizer trials through a partnership between the Yale New Haven Hospital and the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, according to Chief Medical Officer of the Yale New Haven Hospital Thomas Balcezak.
At Yale, associate professor of medicine Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu is currently leading this study, as well as other clinical trials for COVID-19 therapies. Approximately 43,500 people around the world are participating in the Pfizer vaccine trials — half of whom have received the actual vaccine and half of whom were injected with a placebo.
Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu says it will likely be the middle of 2021 before there’s enough doses for everyone, even with multiple companies racing to the finish line.