Nigeria obtains reagents for detecting Coronavirus

The Nigerian government says it has obtained the reagents needed for testing and recognition of Corona Virus.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire made this known to State House Correspondents on Wednesday, while briefing them on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, which was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said: Since about eight days ago, we obtained the reagents necessary; we have the machines; they are called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines which we have here for molecular diagnostics; but we didn’t have the reagents.

Because for every pathogen, you have a specific pathogen that you will use to detect it and that one for Corona virus being a new disease was not very much available but we acquired it about eight days ago.

He further disclosed that already, three laboratories in Nigeria are conducting tests for the dreaded virus.

Now three laboratories in Nigeria can test Corona virus and in fact, they have tested two cases already which were negative Lagos, Abuja and Irrua.

Irrua, as you know is Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence for this Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers which is the category to which Corona virus and Lassa fever belong particularly, he said.

On why the virus had not been reported in Africa, he said that for a disease to enter a place, somebody or something must carry it.

He said that a person could bring a disease while an animal might carry it as in the case of mosquitoes for malaria and rats for Lassa fever.

As far Corona virus is concerned, it is human to human transmission, maybe we have lucky that no person carrying that Corona has entered our country and none has come here undetected.

And we are particularly happy that the Chinese Government is conducting what is called exit screening.

They not only screen those are entering their country, they screen those who are leaving; so that if they, themselves see any person who has any sign of being sick or having Corona virus, they will restrain that person from travelling.

This is helpful to other countries; so that you reduce the risk of anybody just coming here like that,” he said.

Ehanire said that he updated the cabinet on the state of preparedness for the trending problem of Corona virus and also the endemic Lassa fever in Nigeria.

He said that the frontline was the port health services while the second line of defence was the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.

According to the Minister, the level of preparedness at international airports which were the main points of entry into the country Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano was high.

On containing Lassa fever, he said the treatment and reporting has improved while the fatality rate had dropped to 15 per cent from 30 per cent a couple of years ago.

The Minister said that samples had been taken for laboratory analysis in order to detect the cause of the strange illness that has killed some people in Benue State.

Source: Voice of Nigeria