Onyema Ogbuagbu – The African who helped develop Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine
November 27, 2020
In March, Pfizer Incorporated, an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation, and Biopharmaceutical New Technologies (BioNtech), a German immunotherapy company specializing in cancer medicine announced plans to work together to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Leveraging on their resources and expertise, both companies later this year announced the development of a vaccine that was 90% effective after preliminary trials.
One of such expertise involved in the development is an African by name Onyema Ogbuagbu who is at the centre of the Pfizer led-research.
Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu life and career
Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu is a Nigerian Doctor based in the United States of America. Dr Onyema Ogbuagbu, a twin, is the son of Prof. Chibuzo Ogbuagu, the former vice-chancellor of Abia State University, Nigeria, his mother, Stella Ogbuagu, is a professor of sociology.
Onyema Ogbuagu studied medicine at the University of Calabar in Cross River State where he graduated in 2003. Mount Sinai School of Medicine was where Onyema Ogbuagu did his residency and got his board certification from AB of Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease in 2012.
Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine and infectious disease specialist at Yale School of Medicine. Ogbuagbu’s expertise and collective experiences have witnessed him design and implement a number of successful projects that have facilitated tangible and resourceful educational and research collaborations between faculty and trainees across institutions.
In a biography on the Yale School of Medicine website, Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu says
“I am an Associate Professor of Medicine, in the clinician-educator track and Director of the HIV Clinical Trials program of the Yale AIDS Program, Section of Infectious Diseases of the Yale School of Medicine.
My clinical responsibilities include educating and training medical students, residents and infectious diseases fellows in various capacities in inpatient and outpatient settings; and through structured course work and other teaching sessions. As a faculty of the HIV training track of the Yale-Internal Medicine primary care program and for over 6 years as a faculty of the Human Resources for Health program in Rwanda, I have extensive experience with curriculum development, structuring of residency training programs, and mentoring residents and faculty. In Rwanda specifically, I have and continue to mentor medical residents and junior faculty in quality improvement and clinical research projects that are locally relevant and addressing important infectious diseases-related problems (particularly HIV/AIDS and antimicrobial resistance).”
In an interview with ABC News, Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu said he had been involved in the trials of the vaccines by Pfizer and was elated by the results, because having a potent vaccine would mean widespread immunity.
The U.S Mission Nigeria recognized the contributions of Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu in developing the vaccine.
“Nigerians contribute to the world in so many ways. Our hats off to Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu at Yale who helped develop a COVID-19 vaccine,” The U.S. Mission Nigeria said in a Twitter comment.
Pfizer says it would launch a test pilot in four states in the United States, however, there are concerns that the vaccine needs to be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit (-70 degree Celsius).
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