US celebrates UNICAL alumnus who helped Pfizer develop covid-19 vaccine

Ogbuagbu

A graduate of the University of Calabar, Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu is being celebrated by the US Mission in Nigeria for helping Pfizer develop Covid-19 vaccine in the United States.

 In a tweet, on November 23 the mission wrote, “Nigerians contribute to the world in so many ways. Our hats off to Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu at Yale who helped developed Covid-19 vaccine”

 The tweet has generated over 4000 retweets as of the time of writing this.

 Ogbuagu who graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Calabar in 2003 is an associate professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease at Yale School of Medicine.

Pfizer had announced that the vaccine has 94 percent capacity to protect adults over 65 years against the virus.

 On the site of the Yale School of Medicine, Onyema wrote, “I am 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).

 Furthermore, I have facilitated meaningful educational and research collaborations between faculty and trainees across institutions. As the program director of World Bank and HRSA-funded efforts supporting the Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS)–run Internal medicine residency training program, I have overseen the selection and deployment of faculty to Liberia, and am responsible for educational programs and activities aimed at strengthening the residency training program.

 Overall, my expertise and collective experiences to date have positioned me to design and run successful projects around capacity building in low-resource settings including developing and implementing innovative and robust medical training and research programs for faculty, fellows, residents, and students.

For 5 years now, I have been the Director of the Yale AIDS Program HIV clinical trials program, and a principal investigator on numerous pharmacokinetic, phase 2 and 3 safety and efficacy trials of novel antiviral compounds (HIV).

 More, recently, given the alarming rate of new infections among men who have sex with men (MSM), I have focused on HIV prevention trials including being a co-principal investigator on a Yale CIRA funded project, which has supported the formation of a cohort of men who have sex with men, who are at high risk for HIV and are engaged in HIV PrEP services in order to study the impact of substance use on retention in care and adherence to PrEP. I am also a lead investigator on the international DISCOVER trial evaluating TAF/FTC vs TDF/FTC for HIV prevention among MSM and transgender women.

 In response to the COVID pandemic, I am Yale principal investigator on multiple investigational therapeutic and preventative clinical trials for COVID-19 including remdesivir (now FDA approved), leronlimab and remdesivir and tocilizumab combination therapy as well as the Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine trial.

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