It is no longer news that a vaccine has been developed by Pfizer for the dreaded COVID-19 virus that has claimed about 1.4 million lives globally.
However, key to this breakthrough is a Nigerian, Onyeama Ogbuagu, an associate professor of medicine and Infectious Disease Specialist at Yale School of Medicine.
Ogbuagu is one of the son of a former vice-chancellor of the Abia State University, Chibuzor Ogbuagu and Stella Ogbuagu, a professor of sociology.
The erudite scholar/physician studied medicine at the University of Calabar before proceeding to intern at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (Elmhurst), New York where he rose to become chief resident.
Ogbuagu subsequently became a fellow of infectious diseases, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut where he led several medical researches in the US and Africa.
He became the programme director of the World Bank and HRSA-funded efforts supporting the Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS)–run internal medicine residency training programme, where he oversaw the selection and deployment of faculty to Liberia.
The Nigerian born scholar worked as director of the Yale HIV clinical trials programme, and a principal investigator on numerous pharmacokinetic, phase 2 and 3 safety and efficacy trials of novel antiviral compounds.
In 2015, Ogbuagu became a fellow, American College of Physicians. In 2017, he was a nominee for Charles W. Bohmfalk Award in Clinical Science, Yale University School of Medicine. In the same year, he won the Steve Huot Faculty Award for Dedication and Excellence, Yale University School of Medicine Internal Medicine Primary Care programme.
In 2019, Ogbuagu was awarded the Gerald H. Friedland award for outstanding international research. In 2020, he emerged as a nominee for Charles W. Bohmfalk Award in Clinical Science, Yale University School of Medicine.
Ogbuagu is one of the researchers leading the Pfizer trial. He is Yale principal investigator on multiple investigational therapeutic and preventative clinical trials for COVID-19, including remdesivir, leronlimab and remdesivir and tocilizumab combination therapy as well as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial.
Speaking in an interview with ABC News on the vaccine, he said although doses will be unavailable to everyone at first, massive distribution was expected to take off in the first quarter of 2021.
Meanwhile, Ogbuagbu is also a lead investigator on the international DISCOVER trial evaluating TAF/FTC vs TDF/FTC for HIV prevention among MSM and transgender women.