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NCDC urged to step up efforts to prevent importation of Ebola

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A building of the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) is pictured, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Lagos, Nigeria May 7, 2020. Picture taken May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), has urged the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to urgently come up with strategies that would prevent importation of Ebola into Nigeria.

Prof. Babatunde Salako, Director-General (D-G) of NIMR, gave the charge on Thursday, in Lagos, in an exclusive interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Salako spoke against the backdrop of a new positive case of Ebola virus disease, confirmed in North Kivu, a province in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Ebola virus disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebolaviruses.

Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River, in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He said: “The NCDC is already on the battle front with COVID-19, so from that battle front, they will face Ebola in case it gets to the country.

“By now, they should be coming up with strategies to ensure that the spread does not get into the country, and NIMR will continue to do surveillance along with the NCDC on this.”

On why there was yet to be a vaccine for the virus, Salako said that the peculiarity of the virus to African countries could be one of the reason a vaccine was yet to be found.

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“When you have a disease that is a threat to the whole world, you get solutions easily, but when a disease is limited to a poor African Region, you get little attention.

“In Africa, we do not have resources to research for solutions; Ebola is not a global problem, and so they are not going to help us find a solution to it.

“The issue about Ebola vaccine or treatment is still very weary, so we do not know for now whether the World Health Organisation will approve any emergency vaccine for Ebola-like they did for COVID.

“Beyond that, we have to keep educating people on how to prevent infection,” he said.

Salako, therefore, urged Africa leaders to come together and commit more funds to research and development.

“I believe African leaders need to come together now to ensure that they have funds for research and development of drugs and vaccines for diseases ravaging the continent,” the D-G said.

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