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Dr. Adeola Fowotade
Senior Lecturer/Consultant Virologist
Coordinator, Biorepository Clinical Virology Laboratory
College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

What are you and your institution currently working on regarding COVID-19?

In response to the urgent need for molecular diagnostic support for COVID-19 testing in Nigeria, the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan set up a Biosafety level 2 Molecular Virology Laboratory. The Biorepository and Clinical Virology Laboratory (BCVL) came into existence in April 2020. The College of Medicine, University of Ibadan has been able to get the Laboratory accredited by the Nigerian Centre for Disease control (NCDC) and enrolled for external quality assurance with WHO accrediting organizations. To date, the laboratory has tested and archived over 30,000 nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab samples from suspected COVID-19 cases. The BCVL has established a collaboration network with Northwestern University and the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID). Our collaboration with Northwestern University, USA on multiple expansions of globally uncommon SARS-CoV-2 lineages in Nigeria has resulted in a manuscript recently accepted by Nature Communication. Additionally, the Laboratory has secured a Bill and Melinda Gates Grant Challenges 2021 grant for genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2.

I was site investigator on the NIH funded Randomized, Open Label Trial to Investigate the Efficacy and Safety of Nitazoxinide Plus Atazanavir/Ritonavir for the Treatment of COVID-19. This is a pilot phase 2, multicentre 2-arm (1:1 ratio) open-label randomized controlled trial. I am also Co- PI of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) funded study on socio-demographic, clinical-pathologic and immune predictors of severe disease and mortality for COVID-19 among

Nigerians. As Co-PI on the Sanofi-Pasteur funded parallel-group, Phase III, multi-stage, modified double-blind, multi-armed study we are currently assessing the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of two SARS-CoV-2 Adjuvant Recombinant Protein Vaccines (monovalent and bivalent) for prevention against COVID-19 in adults 18 years of age and older.

How did you learn and become interested in the GVN?

I attended the first GVN Short Course for emerging leaders in Virology in 2014.

How were you first drawn into virology?

As a resident doctor training in the field of Medical Microbiology, I observed that there were few people working specifically in the field of virology. This, coupled with the fact that viruses were frequently implicated in a number of outbreaks, made me develop an interest in studying viruses.

What do you hope to gain from the Rising Stars Mentorship Program?

I hope that the Rising Stars Mentorship program will grant me the opportunity to work with experts in the field of virology. I look forward to a mutually beneficial mentorship and collaboration that will help to develop my research skills and result in impactful publications.

What are your research interests and accomplishments?

My research interests center on understanding the immunoevasive strategies of viruses of public health concern. I am also interested in development of novel diagnostic techniques for emerging and re-emerging viruses. My doctoral degree training has given me the opportunity to acquire hands-on skills in Molecular Biology, and this has been a useful tool for my subsequent research. The focus of my doctoral research was on evaluating the immune-evasive strategies of Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus. Subsequently, my career focus has centered on better understanding the epidemiology and molecular diversity of viruses of medical importance. My research output in the field of Virology includes about 50 publications, out of which 22 are PubMed indexed.

Professional Summary

Adeola Fowotade is currently a Clinical Virologist at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria and a Senior Lecturer at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She graduated Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Ilorin in 2003 and subsequently obtained Masters in Science Degree (Medical Virology) from the same Institution. She possesses a Doctorate degree in Molecular Virology and Immunology form the School of Biosciences and Medicine of the University of Surrey, United Kingdom. Adeola is a Fellow of the Faculty of Pathology, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria and the Faculty of Laboratory Medicine, West African College of Physicians.

I have worked as a volunteer Laboratory Pillar Lead for the Oyo state COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centre and was responsible for organizing and training a team of laboratory personnel on sample collection from COVID-19 patients, production of viral transport media (VTM) for transport of Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal specimens as well as providing weekly report of activities to the EOC and the Oyo state Taskforce on COVID-19.

Overview of The College of Medicine, University of Ibadan

Established in 1948, the University of Ibadan, UI as it is fondly referred to, is the first University in Nigeria. Until 1962 when it became a full-fledged independent University, it was a College of the University of London in a special relationship scheme. The University, which took off with academic programmes in Arts, Science and Medicine, is now a comprehensive citadel of learning with academic programmes in sixteen Faculties namely, Arts, Science, Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Agriculture, the Social Sciences, Education, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Technology, Law, Public Health, Dentistry, Economics, Renewable Natural Resources and Environmental Design and Management. The Faculties of the Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Public Health and Dentistry are organized as a College of Medicine.

The College of Medicine, University of Ibadan has all infrastructure and human resources required to carry out translational research in the field of Virology.

The College of Medicine, University of Ibadan has continued to strengthen epidemic preparedness, rapid response and risk communication to the public apart from impactful research in the area of basic as well as translational virology.

The key ingredients for the future development is to upgrade the College of Medicine to a GVN Center of Excellence that will attract talented young scientists to join the research team and also to encourage friendly competition, fruitful collaborations and free discussions with both national and international scientists, with expertise in Virology.