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Our roles in the fight against COVID-19, by dons

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In line with their roles as centres of research and innovations, higher educational institutions in Kwara state have responded in varying forms rendering assistance to the state government in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19 pandemic in the state. The state has a high concentration of public and private universities as well as polytechnics as against other states in the country.

The Guardian investigations showed that many of these institutions have either fabricated handwashing machines, commenced research works into finding solutions to the pandemic or donated funds to the treasury of the state’s technical committee on the pandemic. The University of Ilorin had promised prompt production of a vaccine for the treatment of coronavirus.

The institution said a team of medical experts and scientists led by a Professor of medical virology, Prof. Mathew Kolawole is working on the project. Already, It stated that the research team had developed three viable proposals for research on various aspects of the contagious disease. Kolawole, who is the director of the university’s institute of molecular science and biotechnology (IMSB), assured that his team of researchers had prepared proposals for the development of vaccines.

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The don said these include the molecular epidemiology surveillance as well as a prototype for the detection of COVID-19. The virologist added however that the only impediment is funding to support the research.“One is on the development of a vaccine; another has to do with molecular epidemiology surveillance for COVID-19, and the third has to do with developing a prototype for case detection.“The prototype will hopefully be ready by next week for a pre-test.

Once it is ready and fine, we will be seeking for funds.” The institute’s director said to develop the prototype for case detection; he and his team of researchers had been using their personal funds. “He subsequently appealed to the government for funds, saying the team has the capacity to do more if research is funded,” he said. Kolawole recalled that he was the first to report the coronavirus in Nigeria in 2017, adding that if his work had been taken seriously, Nigeria would have been better prepared to combat COVID-19.

“The research was funded with international partners in the United States with a grant from the national science foundation, but I was the one that did the local research.”

In the same vein, the Kwara State polytechnic recently inaugurated pedal hand washing machine in its efforts to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 currently ravaging the world.

According to the rector, Abdul Jimoh Muhammed, the washing machine was meant to assist in curtailing the coronavirus pandemic. The Rector appealed to the government at all levels to patronise the product, even after the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

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