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Nigeria develops COVID-19 test kit, outcome of Madagascan organics out soon


Representative of the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Abdulhadi Abdullahi (left); Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Alex Akpan; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammed Sabo-Nanono; his Science and Technology counterpart,<br />Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; and representative of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Awal Muhammed, during the launch of the RNA Swift COVID-19 test kit in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

•Minister moves to make more hospitals sample collection centres
The Ministry of Science and Technology has unveiled an indigenous test kit, RNA Swift, for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, with a view to enhancing capacity and effectively managing the pandemic.

During a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, stated: “The RNA Swift has amazing precision for the detection of SARS-COV-2, and will be commercially available at a price that places it ahead of competitors in terms of sensitivity and affordability.”

According to him, the initiative was borne out of the need to test Nigerian farmers and labourers, adding that in the coming months, five million cultivators would be examined from the first 10 million of the tools to be produced.

He described the development as “Nigeria’s gift and contribution to help Africa and the world fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”


In the intervening time, the minister could announce the result of the scientific analysis of the Madagascar COVID-19 Organics soon.

Researchers at the Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), Lagos, told The Guardian yesterday that they had completed the evaluation and were compiling the findings for onward submission to Onu within the week.

They hinted also that the agency had developed a herbal remedy for prevention and management of symptoms of coronavirus and other emerging viral infections.

Director General/Chief Executive Officer of NNMDA, Samuel Oghene Etatuvie, said: “We have concluded the formulation of our herbal remedy for the prevention and management of the symptoms of COVID-19 and other emerging viral infections. We are currently working to meet the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) listing requirements.

“We were in the past one month involved in the analysis of the Madagascar COVID-19 Organics. We are currently putting our findings together for submission to the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST).”

The NNMDA, which is under the FMST, was one of the three research institutes that were given samples of the Madagascan therapy to evaluate. The other two agencies being NAFDAC and the Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), which are both under the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).

In a related development, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has hinted of ongoing plans by his ministry to boost COVID-19 sample collection by retooling all eligible public and private hospitals nationwide to become compilation centres.

Speaking in Abuja, he said the move would require collaborations with state governments and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) to identify the facilities and their spaciousness to train personnel and supply both personal protective equipment (PPE) and kits.


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