The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part of its policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, introduces the CBN Healthcare grant. The Healthcare Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS) is to help strengthen the public healthcare system with innovative financing of research and development (R&D) in new and improved drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics of infectious diseases in Nigeria.
See Also: How to access the COVID-19 Relief Fund
Specifically, the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS) is designed to trigger intense national Research & Development (R&D) activities. This will help develop a Nigerian vaccine, drugs and herbal medicines against the spread of COVID-19 and any other communicable or non-communicable diseases.
This will be done through the provision of grants to biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies. Institutions, researchers, and research institutes are also not left out of the radar. The aim is to aid the research and development of drugs, herbal medicines, and vaccines for the control, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases.
Moreover, the scheme is intended to boost domestic manufacturing of critical drugs and vaccines to ensure their sustainable domestic supply. More so, this will reduce the bulk manufacturing costs of drugs, herbal medicines, and vaccines in Nigeria.
Candidate vaccines undergoing pre-clinical testing or trials shall not be eligible for consideration for the CBN healthcare research & development grant under this Scheme. However, candidate vaccines undergoing clinical testing or trials shall be eligible for consideration under the scheme if considered to have high potential to cross the clinical trial stage and prospects of scale by the Body of Experts (BoE).
However, in applying for the CBN healthcare grant, the applicant shall be required to have conducted pre-clinical testing of the candidate drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines, and obtained certification from relevant health authorities for further research and development.
More so, special consideration shall be given to candidate drugs, herbal medicines, and vaccines with high scientific merit against emerging infections and contribute to the development of a Nigerian vaccine.
A Body of Expert (BoE) shall be constituted from the academia and industry to review validated research proposals submitted and recommend for financing, as appropriate. The BoE shall meet regularly to appraise the research and development project and submit progress reports to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Scheme shall be funded from the Developmental Component of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF).
Disbursement under the Scheme shall be made to beneficiaries in tranches subject to approved milestones achieved.
Research activities: Maximum of N50.0 million.
Development/Manufacturing activities: Maximum of N500.0 million.
Body of Experts (BoE)
The Chair of the Body of Expert (BoE) shall be appointed by the CBN. The Body of Experts (BoE) shall be responsible for the review and evaluation of submitted research proposals. They shall also, recommend for financing R&D projects with high potential to contribute to the development of Nigerian vaccines for infectious diseases.
The composition of the BoE shall be as detailed below:
i. Two (2) independent research specialists appointed by the CBN;
ii. One (1) nominee from National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC);
iii. One (1) nominee from Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD);
iv. One (1) nominee from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)
v. One (1) nominee from Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and;
vi. One (1) nominee from the Federal Ministry of Health
Applicant(s) shall submit its application, with relevant documentation of validation from relevant health authorities, trial results, patent registration details (if any) and development timetable to the Body of Experts (BoE).
After, the BoE shall evaluate applications and recommend to the CBN. The CBN shall review for documentation adequacy and completeness. Upon approval, the approved grant sum shall be released to the applicant’s account with any PFI of his/her choice. The beneficiary shall submit a periodic progress report on the project to the CBN.
Moreover, CBN shall have a proprietary right over all financed R&D outcomes or products. Equally, the licensing protocol for the mass manufacturing of developed drugs, phytomedicines, and vaccines shall be defined. This shall be done by the BoE in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).