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Experts urge investment in labs to boost COVID-19 testing

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Experts in Neuroscience have called for more investment in laboratories to enable the country conduct more COVID-19 test for its citizens.
In an interview with The Guardian, the experts, who noted that Nigeria ranks number seven in the list of countries by population, and among the nations with high death rate from diseases, expressed regret that little research is done within the country to address the problems.

A research fellow in the Serpell Laboratory, Sussex Neuroscience, Dr. Mahmoud Bukar Maina, who lamented that Nigeria is heavily depending on research interventions from the West, disclosed that a research published in the European Journal of Neuroscience revealed that only eight per cent of brain research publications from Nigeria used modern advanced techniques.

According to Maina, this clearly shows that in addition to the lack of funding, the lack of good lab with advanced equipment limits Nigerian science from having a significant impact on a global stage.

“Taking COVID-19 pandemic as an example, with a population of about 200 million people, as of December 2020, less than 0.5 per cent of Nigeria’s population was tested for COVID-19. This is partly because only a few laboratories in Nigeria have the necessary equipment for conducting COVID-19 testing.”

Maina, who noted that research needs commitment and perseverance, said it takes years and the use of multiple types of equipment and approaches to fully address scientific problems. “This is why researchers are yet to eradicate diseases like malaria and also yet to find an effective treatment for brain diseases like Dementia.”

Zaid Muhammad from the Department of Human Physiology, College of Medicine, Yobe State University, said that the country was overdue to have well equipped laboratories.

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