Following are the details of the news:

Efforts by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) to promote the local manufacture of vaccines against the deadly COVID -19 pandemic received a boost through the request for partnership on the development of raw materials active ingredients for a vaccine by the Cuban government.

Speaking during a working visit to the Council recently, the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Maria Polido-Escardell, cited the need for a strong bilateral relation with Nigeria through the Council for the development of scarce raw materials required to develop vaccines for the virus. She noted that Nigeria is a country blessed with abundant natural resources and a huge market in view of its population.

Mrs Polido-EScardill also explained that Cuba had developed a large human capital base over the years with proven expertise in medicine and technical capacities which can be harnessed through the proposed partnership to produce vaccines in Nigeria.

 "Cuba has huge experience in vaccine production and we have a background in scientific research. So I believe that if we can partner with Nigeria through RMRDC as a nexus, we can successfully harness the full raw materials potentials of Nigeria to produce vaccine for COVID-19 in this country", she said.

Speaking further, the Ambassador revealed that Cuba was well positioned in the areas of biotechnology, drugs and vaccines production including the production of molecule for development of vaccines.

She said Cuba has already produced over a million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and intends to vaccinate all Cubans by the end of 2021, having already vaccinated a quarter of the Cuban population.

Speaking earlier, the Director-General of the Council, Professor Hussaini Doko Ibrahim, said the Council is developing raw materials for the production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) as well as manufacture of drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.

 He said that the Council had already developed lovastatin which is derived from a specie of mushroom to tackle some diseases that are triggered by the virus and that efforts were in top gear to work with other relevant sectors in the development and production of vaccines and drugs locally.

The RMRDC Boss therefore expressed delight with the expression of interest by Cuba to partner with RMRDC and Nigeria in the local development of vaccines for COVID-19.