It is only today I came to know that Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River State is a professor of immunology. I knew he was a professor, but his countless gaffes with his state budgets and needless use of verbose and meaningless words made me think his field was one of those desciplines known for making professors out of crackpots.
He now claims to be an immunologist, no doubt with a fake PhD like one of our past leaders. I don’t know how else to explain a professor of immunology claiming that PCR methods are only good for “viral sequencing” but unreliable for diagnostic purposes. And then quoting Thabo Mbeki to deny the link between HIV and AIDS.
Thank God that at both universities where I teach, 400 level students of medicine and microbiology know that PCR – which stands for polymerase chain reaction – is the most reliable method of identifying microbes causing hùman disease, especially viruses like HIV and the SARS-Cov-2 causing Covid-19. And I really pity every student ever taught by Prof. Ayade.
Surely, a professor of of science and an expert in immunology would know the difference between serum therapy and vaccines. And should be the last to confuse and conflate the two with pompous jingoism.
What Ayade is yakking about is serum therapy, where someone who has fought off a disease, have their serum taken, prepared and administered to a SICK person who cannot produce antibodies of their own. Its purpose is to TREAT already sick people.
Vaccines on the other hand, are prepared by attenuating the antigenicity of the causal organism, which is then tested for efficacy possible reaction to the recipient. Vaccines are administered on HEALTHY people and the purpose is to PREVENT infection.
What our renowned professor is familiar with and sounding off about, is the simple extraction of blood from a recovered person, followed by extraction of serum, processing it before administration.
Vaccine production is a different piece of cake. You must obtain the actual variant or a co- variant of the causal organism and attenuate it in the laboratory.
For highly pathogenic organisms like Coronavirus, this could only be done in at least a level 3- 4 biosecurity laboratory.
Prof Ayade should tell the world where a level 4 biosecurity laboratory is located, in Nigeria, that could handle a virulent virus that causes Covid 19., thus talking of professors of virology who understands the procedure is not the issue.
Does Nigeria posses a level 4 biosecurity laboratory for that kind of work.
Finally, Professor Ayade needs to talk through a mask and stop polluting the atmosphere.