UPDATE OF COVID-19 IN NIGERIA

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The Federal and state governments, scientists, government parastatals and traditional medicine practitioners have all been making concerted efforts to revive the Nigerian economy and win the war against the coronavirus; especially on the issues of ventilators, vaccine and local remedies for COVID-19

 VENTILATORS

Various organizations have indicated capability or commenced production of ventilators in Nigeria. John Enenche, Director, Defence Media Operation at Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) says the Nigerian military has successfully produced ventilator called DICOVENT.

Also, Innoson Motors has claimed it can produce 50 ven-tilators a day, and the company has submitted its proposal to the federal government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Recently, a team of scientists from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) has produced what it calls UNILAG/LASRIC Ambuvent ventilators which are capable of being powered with solar energy.

National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) had also manufactured ventilators while, Bennie Agro, a Plateau based company has also come up with a ventilator prototype which according to the CEO of the company, Jerry Mallo, has undergone clinical test and can therefore be used with just minor adjustments.

 VACCINES

According to the words of the Minister of Education, ‘Nigerian Universities are working very hard to finding a solution, and this is being done in a coordinated manner; some are doing research at the molecular level, others are looking at the vaccine levels, and so on’

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it will fund research for made-in-Nigeria vaccines. 

Speaking at the unveiling of the THISDAY Dome testing, tracing and treatment center in Abuja recently, Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor said, ‘In order to encourage greater research and development in Nigeria of drugs and vaccines that would help prevent the spread of the virus, the CBN is developing a framework under which grants and long term facilities will be provided to researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to develop the Nigerian vaccine’.

 LOCAL REMEDIES

Nigerian traditional medical and herbal practitioners have risen to the occasion by producing over 20 different remedies to fight COVID-19. At a meeting with Sen. Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Honourable Minister of Health (State), the Minister urged the practitioners to submit their COVID-19 remedy to NAFDAC and NIPRO.

Responding to the issue of tradi-tional remedies, NAFDAC maintains that every remedy must be scientifically assessed and proven before usage. In a tweet on the Ministry of Health handle, the DG of NAFDAC explained that the agency “does toxicity test to ensure the safety of the drugs and @NIPRD1 does scientific clinical research before approving the drugs”.

The different state governments on their part are not left out of the issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. However, either by sweep of fate or by the efforts of the state governments, two states out of the entire states in Nigeria have been without COVID-19 blemish – Cross River and Kogi states.

CROSS RIVER STATE      

Cross River state has remained one of the two states in Nigeria that has not recorded any COVID-19 patient. The Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade has continued to maintain his reservation that the global coronavirus pandemic has become a full-scale business for some people and that the world is using it to exploit Africa and Nigeria in particular.

Speaking on why his state has not conducted random testing as observed in many states in the country, the governor argued that the test currently being conducted to diagnose the viral disease in the country ‘lacks reproductibility and relaibility’

KOGI STATE

Kogi state is the second state in Nigeria to record zero case of COVID-19 as the state Governor, Yahaya Bello believes that leaders are prioritizing COVID-19 rather than other pertinent issues like the economy.

While addressing the NCDC delegation to the state, the Governor lamented that, ‘there are so many merchants now marketing COVID-19 as if that is our priority.

For this reason, the economy is fully operational in Kogi state with no lockdown. However, interstate travel is restricted, as directed by the Federal government.

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