Nigeria achieve breakthrough in fight against COVID 19

Nigeria has recorded a breakthrough within the battle against coronavirus.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has successfully validated the primary phase of the viral RNA (RNA) extraction which might enable local production of cheap testing kits for COVID-19.
On Thursday, the validation occurred within the laboratory of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in Abuja.
Prof. Alex Akpa, NABDA Director-General, told the press agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the success was important to the African continent.
Prof. Alex Akpa said the event “shall enable us to massively produce test kits in order that more people would be tested for COVID-19, not only in Nigeria but in Africa”.
Akpa disclosed that the immediate aim is to “produce reagents for real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and remember, recently the shortage of reagents stalled add Kano and molecular diagnosis could not happen .”
The DG recalled that the absence of an equivalent reagent equally stalled COVID-19 diagnosis in Lagos for several days.
“This project is, therefore, designed to enable not only Nigeria but the entire of Africa to place the difficulty of shortage of reagents behind,’’ he said.
Akpa added that the project was a Pan-African project whose partners include Ethiopia, NCDC and therefore the University of Sheffield, U.K., among others with funding to return from African Development Bank.
Speaking, Dr Ndodo Nnaemeka, Chief Molecular Bioengineer, National Reference Laboratory of NCDC, hailed the “wonderful project.’’
Nnaemeka said it had been designed to unravel the matter of RNA extraction kit which had become a worldwide issue.
The official noted that there have been serious concerns for the necessity to possess more extraction kits in-country which there was growing demand worldwide for extraction kits.
“The western world prioritizes their own interest first by ensuring that they meet their local needs before exporting to other countries, so there was actually need for it,’’ he said.
Nnaemeka recalled that the primary phase of the evaluation results he administered with the NABDA scientific team was “awesome and successful.’’
“The kits compete favorably well with other international kits we are using, in fact, it scored highly in purity and in quantity of extraction and that we are thinking of scaling production,’’ Nnaemeka disclosed
The molecular expert clarified that to be ready to conduct test, the viral information which comes because the RNA has got to first be extracted and without this extraction, no test are often conducted.

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