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Breakthrough As Nigeria Creates Own Testing Kits (RNA Swift)

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RNA Swift

Breakthrough As Nigeria Creates Own Testing Kits

Nigeria has recorded a significant breakthrough as the federal government yesterday announced the country’s indigenous development and validation of RNA Swift, a test kit for the identification of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent for Covid-19.

The testing kits will help accelerate the capacity to test people and effectively manage the Coronavirus pandemic.

The RNA Swift testing kit is said to be capable of improving testing and bring the power of large scale and precise testing closer to Nigerians.

Addressing a world press conference in Abuja, the minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said “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 Onu, the RNA Swift was borne out of a need in the agricultural sector to test Nigerian farmers and labourers, even as he hinted that in the coming months, 5million farmers will be tested with the RNA Swift kits from the first 10 million kits to be produced.

He described the development of the testing kit as “Nigeria’s gift and contribution to help Africa and the world fight the Covid-19 pandemic”, adding that by encouraging Nigerian scientists and innovators, the country has the capacity to find solutions to global challenges.

Onu confirmed the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) when he said, “I want to confirm to you that the RNASwift product team is in consultation with the African Development Bank for the funding of an African-wide testing programme for COVID-19 and the establishment for RNASwift production in Nigeria”.

The minister noted that the development of the test kit was as a result of careful planning and strategic investments of the Ministry’s departments and agencies.

He commended the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Finance, as well as the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Sheffield University, scientists and the organised private sector (OPS) for their collaborative efforts in the development of the testing kits.

Earlier, the minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, said his ministry is working hard to ensure food security in the country by supporting the fight against the spread of Covid-19.

He said his ministry will continue to be in the forefront of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring that the newly developed testing kits is made available to test over 5 million farmers across the country.

He commended the efforts of the federal government in minimising the spread of the virus.

He further admonished Nigerians to look inwards, be more organised and focused so as to achieve greatness and more technological feats for the nation.

The acting director-general of NABDA, Prof Alex Ukpa, said the invention of the RNA Swift testing kit will improve testing and bring the power of large scale and precise testing closer to Nigerians.

He added that this approach will enable Nigeria and Africans at large get the needed attention to survive the pandemic.

Akpa commended two Nigerian companies, Graeme Blaque Advisory and Cellulant Nigeria Limited, for their support in the validation of the testing kit.

He further said the testing kits will be produced in Nigeria so as to meet the testing needs of the entire African continent.

“The RNA Swift kit will not only revolutionize Africa’s PCR-Based Covid-19 testing but will also lead to expanding it by at least 50 times while reducing cost, relative to the conventional kit, by over 500%,” he added.

400 Health Workers, FCT Health Sec, Nasarawa AG Test Positive

Meanwhile, no fewer than 400 health workers have tested positive for coronavirus.

National chairman of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), Joy Josiah Biobelemoye, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during the flag off ceremony for the distribution of Personal Protective Equipments PPEs to State councils of JOHESU, assured that despite the spike in infections, health workers would not relent in protecting the citizens.

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He noted that the situation on ground called for drastic solutions, hence the decision of the union to take it upon itself to distribute PPEs to her members.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19 over 400 members of JOHESU have been infected by coronavirus. We also need to support our own members who are working and sacrificing their lives for the generality of Nigerians,”Biobelemoye stated.

Among PPEs to be distributed across 38 state councils of the union are 50,000 pieces of face masks, 15,200 pieces of sanitizers, 2000 pieces of disinfectants and 1,200 pieces of hand wash.

Meanwhile, Aliyu Mohammed, director of Human Resources who represented Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi, said the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown up in the health sector was becoming overwhelming, hence the federal government was appreciative of any donations made by public spirited Nigerians towards curbing the pandemic.

He noted that for some unusual reasons Nigeria has been able to brace up to the challenges better than other advanced countries with technological ingenuity.

He said, “The emergence of Covid-19 has changed the way we live our lives and the health system in general, such that even the developed countries have been overwhelmed, talk less of Nigeria.

“The virus has affected the economy drastically, hence government cannot meet all the challenges that has been thrown up; that is why we welcome such donations by the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria.

“We have many frontline health workers taking up these challenges on behalf of other Nigerians and the federal government is always appreciative of these efforts. So, we crave your understanding and more support to improve on our health care delivery in the country”.

Earlier, general secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Emmanuel Ugboaja, said health workers deserve commendation for being the first set of people to raise awareness on COVID-19 and its preventive measures.

He said when many Nigerians saw health workers putting on facemask they became aware of the seriousness of the virus and the need to stay safe.

“Medical and Health Workers Union were the first set of people that produced face masks and other PPEs and started distributing to Nigerians”, he stated.

Also, acting secretary for Health and Human Services Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Dr Mohammed Kawu, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Kawu, while talking to journalists yesterday at the Asokoro District Hospital where he is currently receiving treatment, explained that his journey to the isolation center began 12 days earlier when he experienced feverish conditions.

This, he said, prompted him to take the COVID-19 test which turned out to be positive.

The acting secretary who is the equivalent to a state commissioner for Health said it was very important for Nigerians to appreciate that COVID-19 is real and can be fatal.

He stated: “I want every Nigerians, like I’ve always told them in the media, that this thing is real and anybody can be infected, especially those of us that are on the frontline.

“The disease can be fatal and it is important that everyone follows all the extant guidelines of hand washing or sanitizing, maintain social distancing wearing of facial covering and staying at home”.

On the challenges of being a frontline health worker, Dr Kawu said that the major drawback was infecting members of their families at home.

He said that his family members who are infected are also being managed within the FCT system.

Speaking on symptoms and status of his health, Kawu said. “I’m happy and I thank my creator that mine was moderate infection. I got some symptoms that were not very severe. I had to be on intravenous (IV) drugs for about 10 days. I’m stronger now. Probably they will discharge me anytime soon”.

Other COVID-19 patients also receiving treatment at the Asokoro Isolation and Treatment Center also called on the public to observe all extant guidelines to tame the spread of the disease.

Similarly, commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Nasarawa State, Dr Abdulkarim Kana, has tested positive for COVID-19.

This is coming a week after Dr Bulus Umaru Peter, the chairman of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Nasarawa State branch, tested positive for the virus.

The state commissioner for Health, Pharmacist Yahaya Ahmed, confirmed the incident to our correspondent in a telephone interview in Lafia, the state capital.

He said, “I can confirm that. However he is in self isolation at home and is in a stable and clear condition. We are taking care of him.”

The Attorney General is a member of the state task force on COVID-19 who was reported to be very cautious of the pandemic by observing its safety rules like daily wearing of facemask, washing of hands and using of hand sanitizer.

Nasarawa state has so far recorded 234 positive cases of COVID 19, while 113 recovered with 8 deaths.

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COVID-19

COVID-19: Protests Takes Place Across Italy Over Restrictions

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ITALY PROTESTS

Protests took place across Italy on Monday over new restrictions to curb the country’s second wave of COVID-19.

Clashes were reported in the northern cities of Milan and Turin, where petrol bombs were thrown at officers.

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In Milan tear gas was used to disperse protesters, and thousands of people gathered in the centre of Naples.

The demonstrations began soon after the national government’s order to close restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas came into effect at 6pm local time.

Many regions have also imposed night-time COVID-19 curfews – including Lombardy, Milan and Piedmont, Turin.

The violence was blamed on extremist agitators and police said 28 people had been arrested in Milan alone.

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COVID-19 Now a Threat to Attainment of the SDGs — BUHARI

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Buhari Approves N10 Billion

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the COVID-19 outbreak had threatened to disrupt the progress recorded on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

Buhari spoke at the virtual inaugural SDGs Moment convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during the high-level week of the 75th UN General Assembly on Friday.

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The President, however, said Nigeria was addressing the threat by re-dedicating efforts towards economic diversification, focusing on agriculture and the mining sectors.

‘’Nigeria has made good strides in Sustainable Development Goals domestication processes, as we have begun the re-alignment of the National Statistical System and indicators of the SDGs.

‘’We have developed a novel home-grown ‘Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Model, as an analytical framework for measuring how policy making can address the indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals.

‘’Nigeria has also set up a Model Private Sector Advisory Group and SDGs Donors’ Forum with the aim of engaging critical stakeholders towards the attainment of the SDGs,” he said.

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Kano gets Japan, EU grants to Cushion Virus Impact

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Kano gets Japan, EU grants to Cushions Virus Impact

The Kano state government has secured japan and European union (EU) grants that will be used in cushioning the effects of covid-19 during the pandemic’s post era.

A statement by governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s chief press secretary, Abba Anwar, on Wednesday said $1.1 million was voted for the Programme.

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Anwar added that the grants were facilitated through the office of the special adviser on sustainable development goals (SDGS), Habibu Yahaya Hotoro, who is also the coordinating focal person of the northwest zonal SDGS hub.

He explained that the grants would be used on specific individuals and small and medium enterprises (SMES), which will support the communities, which are badly affected by the pandemic.

 

 

 

 

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COVID-19 PREVENTION

infectious diseases in your community. It is very important to wash your hand frequently with soap under running water.

COVID-19 IS REAL

#COVID19NIGERIA Situation Report

The #COVID19Nigeria situation report for 21st July, 2020 has been published. Our daily reports provide a summary of the epidemiological situation & response activities in Nigeria

The #COVID19Nigeria situation report for 21st July, 2020 has been published. Our daily reports provide a summary of the epidemiological situation & response activities in Nigeria

@Africa CDC

The African Union and Africa CDC will virtually rollout the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) in Africa tomorrow 4 June, 2020 at 11.00 am Eastern Africa Time.

The African Union and Africa CDC will virtually rollout the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) in Africa tomorrow 4 June, 2020 at 11.00 am Eastern Africa Time.

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"Also found worthy of honour was Bashir Abubakar, an Asst Comptroller-General of Customs, who rejected a bribe of $412,000 per container offered him by drug traffickers seeking to bring 40 containers of Tramadol into Nigeria. A fine example of incorruptibility, worthy of emulation"

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