Health Ministry pledges N36m to scientist who discovers Coronavirus antidote


The Federal government of Nigeria has offered N36 million Naira to anyone who finds a cure for the novel coronavirus that has killed over 1,000 persons.

Speaking at a send forth party organised in honour of the former director of Chemical Technology in the ministry, who recently retired, Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu made the pledge to Nigerian scientists.

The Minister explained that the N36 million pledge was to spur innovation to “address human problems not only at local scale but at global level.”

“I am confident that our scientists have what it takes to find solution to our problems and make Nigeria be self reliant. I have no doubt in my mind that they can do it”, he said.

“This is the only way we can reposition our nation to be self reliant: creating jobs, fight poverty and create wealth for our people in line with President Buhari’s agenda.”

“We are doing our best to encourage them in this regard. I challenge them to go into research and find solution to Coronavirus so that the world will know that we have the best minds we can be proud of.

“I am challenging our scientists On behalf of the Ministry, I am pledging the sum of N36million for any Nigerian scientist that finds solution to Coronavirus.

“We will not go to bed or rest until solution is found to this disease,” he added.

2 thoughts on “Health Ministry pledges N36m to scientist who discovers Coronavirus antidote

  1. Yusuf A. Yusuf

    I saw the headline on the news, that the Minister of science and technology in Nigeria has pledged to gift any scientist who provide cure for coronavirus (covid-19) the sum of 36 million naira!!! I laughed and brushed it aside, but the post keeps on resurfacing! It is duty bound for scientist to provide a rejoinder to the unguided statement! I can forgive him, being a Chemical engineer, with first class degree,and zero knowledge on virus. Nigerians like sensational news!!!
    Coming back to coronavirus that is presently causing havoc in Wuhan,China and parts of the world, with a death toll of over a thousand lives. This necessitated WHO to convene a special emergency meeting, to the point of changing its nomenclature to COVID-19! Thus, divorcing it from other ranks diseases caused coronavirus e.g milder common cold to SARS and MERS! Then, we know this is world public health emergency!
    Coronavirus has been around,but COVID-19 is new! I dare say it is a re-emerging infection caused by mutation of earlier viral strain. As at today, COVID-19, keeping in its trail,has 67177 cases, 1526 death and 8410 recovery! Wow! Autolegous vaccines can be produced from patients that have recovered! High caution needed here!!!!
    Viruses are funny beings, but very dangerous. They are not like bacteria, fungi, protozoans,or any disease causing agent. They are unique… highly infective and deadly! Viruses are sub-microscopic,acaryotes, host and tissue/organ specific,due to their outer membrane protein (OMP) during infectivity. They have high rate of mutation, that is why development of vaccines are mostly hindered, but not impossible! Providing vaccine is tricky, tough and very expensive! 36M…phew!
    Apart of the dangers of working with the virus,there is issue of containment! Nigeria Center for Disease Control, National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja are presently building capacity for diagnosis! Not cure!!! They are still struggling with Lassa ,Ebola , Yellow fever viruses, others at IDSR level.
    Real time PCR has been the gold standard for diagnosis and confirmation of these viruses! Oligos, nucleotide sequence/ primers are being used,and results are churned out on daily basis!
    For the cure of viral infection, there is need for incontrovertible knowledge in epidemiology, to isolation, propagation, purification of viral agent! Then, cycles of clinical trials! Safety and standardization! And so forth..
    I do not want to sound like a pessimist,but no scientist in Nigeria, with our present facilities (research institutions and Universities) can be so ambitious to embark on a futile research at the risk of endangering Nigerians,in an event of experiment misshap!!!
    Thank God, epidemiological evidence has provided information that COVID-19 cannot strive in Africa. Though, grapevine has it that Egypt has recorded its first case! Scary….
    For now,let us strengthen our public health capacity on possible management of epidemic-prone diseases. China build isolation and treatment facility for COVID-19 in world record of 9 days! Their scientists are on clinical trials for a possible vaccine.
    The epidemic is real! The world is a global village!! Nigeria, with its porous border is not isolated! 36 million naira, which is less than 💯 thousand USD cannot be earned by any Nigerian scientist!
    Honourable Minister, Thank you,but NO,Sir! Try joining hands and improve our standard and facilities, for us to function better in today’s world!

    A F Umar,PhD


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