(Hero of COVID-19 Vaccine Research)

Dr Onyema Ogbuagu is a Nigerian-born researcher and medical doctor. He is an associate professor of medicine in the clinician-educator track and director of the HIV clinical trials programme of the Yale AIDS programme at the Yale School of Medicine.

Ogbuagu is one of the twin sons of Prof Chibuzo Ogbuagu, a former vice-chancellor of Abia State University, and Stella Ogbuagu, a professor of sociology who was best graduating student of the 1974 class at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). His twin brother is an engineer.

Both men were born in New Haven in Connecticut, which serves as home to the Ivy league Yale University in the US. The family returned to Nigeria where Ogbuagu studied medicine before going back to the US.

Ogbuagu studied medicine at the University of Calabar, Cross River state, in 2003. After graduation, he interned at the Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Nigeria.

He then proceeded to intern at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (Elmhurst), New York. He rose to become chief resident at the same school after which he became a fellow of infectious diseases, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

The Nigerian-born professor has led several researches in the US and Africa. He has over six years experience working as a faculty of the human resources for health programme in Rwanda where he mentors 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).

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.

For five years, he has 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 doctors leading the Pfizer trial. He is 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.