This is the best time to assemble best Nigerian virologists to brainstorm on possible local ways to tackle Covid-19 instead of always looking towards Europe and the West for possible solutions.
There is no discovered drug yet for ( coronavirus) Covid-19 treatment. Though series of information is circulating in the social media and other cycles about possible treatments for the pandemic, the international regulatory bodies have warned that “there are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent Covid-19.”
It is reported in the international media that even Remdesivir, a drug thought to be one of the best prospects for treating Covid-19, failed to have any effect in the first full trial. “The drug is in short supply globally because of the excitement it has generated. It is one of the drugs Donald Trump claimed was ‘promising,’” the report said.
But the puzzle here is that in Nigeria as well as other countries, some people are said to have recovered from coronavirus and have been discharged from hospital. How were they treated and with which vaccines?
In Nigeria, there are close to 2,000 (two thousand) cases of coronavirus out of which close to 300 persons have been discharged while close to 50 have died as at Friday, May1st, 2020. As at Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in South Africa, there were 4,793 cases with 1,494 recoveries and 90 deaths. USA has one million cases with 114,000 recovery and 57,000 deaths. Globally, there are three million cases with 895,000 recovery and 211,000 deaths.
Last Wednesday, Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State told Nigerians that 143 persons have been treated and discharged in Lagos. “I am pleased to announce that today alone we are discharging 49 people -48 Nigerians and one foreigner”
The question therefore is: if there is no cure yet, why are there recoveries, discharges of those who have contracted the virus.
Tom Duszynski, director, Epidemiology Education at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana (IUPUI), explained this in his write-up published in The Conversation website:
“Once a person is exposed to coronavirus, the body starts producing proteins called antibodies to fight the infection. As these antibodies start to successfully contain the virus and keep it from replicating in the body, symptoms usually begin to lessen and you start to feel better. Eventually, if all goes well, your immune system will completely destroy all of the virus in your system. A person who was infected with and survived a virus with no long-term health effects or disabilities has ‘recovered”, he said.
According to Duszynski, “once you have recovered from a viral infection, your body will keep cells called lymphocytes in your system. These cells ‘remember’ viruses they’ve previously seen and can react quickly to fight them off again. If you are exposed to a virus you have already had, your antibodies will likely stop the virus before it starts causing symptoms. You become immune. This is the principle behind many vaccines”.
He warned that unfortunately, immunity isn’t perfect. “For many viruses, like mumps, immunity can wane over time, leaving you susceptible to the virus in the future. This is why you need to get revaccinated – those ‘booster shots’ – occasionally: to prompt your immune system to make more antibodies and memory cells,” he further explained.
This simply means that those who are said to have recovered have developed strong immune system that fought the Covid-19 off. Development of strong immune system therefore, doesn’t come only from vaccines but healthy living.
The Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade underscored this recently in an interview when he underlined healthy living as antidote to viruses.
The various testing going on around Nigeria should therefore, be to identify early carriers of Covid-19 with intention therefore, to boost their immune system or anti-body against the pandemic. Instead of testing to establish figures.
Again, it could be possible, through research, to replicate the anti-body systems of those who have recovered from coronavirus and mass-produce it for Nigerians. “We can take the serum of those who have recovered, because they have displayed strong immunity against the virus, do a synthesis of the serum and mass produce the vaccines”, Ayade advised.
Surprisingly, Nigeria has over the last two months fought Covid-19 from exterior perspective of providing palliatives and testing Nigerians of the pandemic when there is no established cure for the virus. Some of those who have tested positive have suffered stigmatization, while some die because of fear.
It is however, important to identify carriers early enough for provision of vaccines that could improve their immune system. But it is more important for Federal and state governments to make available to many citizens the vaccines and products that could boost anti-body systems against any virus, including Covid-19. Healthy living in Nigeria is almost zero and that is why Covid-19 will be hard to be stamped out, according to experts.
Again, this is the best time to assemble the finest of Nigerian virologists to brainstorm on possible ways to tackle Covid-19 instead of always looking towards Europe and the West for possible solutions.
This is also the opinion of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, a former university don. In the recent address to the media, he urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to look inwards for the solution to the pandemic.
Similarly, in their character, states who have only adopted lockdown as possible solutions are looking up to Abuja for solutions. Nigerian states can also assemble trado-medicine operators, virologists to seek solutions to this pandemic. As it is, states can only begin to face their challenges when they feel a sense of independence and this can be achieved through restructuring. But, today, states are behaving like babies, crying and being fed by Abuja’s feeding bottle.
States need to be allowed to think. Many individuals across the nation’s six geo-political zones, believe in this new economic paradigm to liberate Nigeria from economic strangulation that has bedevilled it for years. Nigeria needs to free itself from central control that has not enabled innovation and development of key sectors.
World Bank’s former management specialist, LadipoAdamolegun, in a lecture re-echoed the challenge of Nigeria’s over-centralisation of federal system. He noted that it was a major explanatory factor for poor development performance of the country.
Further giving credence to restructuring, former president of Institute of Directors (IoD), ChikeNwanze in his lecture at the Nigerian Institute of Management believed any effort towards economic development cannot be achieved without restructuring of the country.
It is important to note that states now hold the key to regional and national development as Federal Government is constrained with many challenges but low revenue, especially as Abuja feeding bottle is not only drying up but has many mouths to feed.
For coronavirus, Nigeria should not concentrate on external sources for solutions. States should not fold their arms and wait on FG as they can embark on researches for local solutions too. This is also important as reports from famous traditional stools indicate that possible cure for the Covid-19. In a report, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi was quoted as saying that there are efforts on traditional cure for the pandemic.
“Though, scientific solutions are being sought globally, traditional medicine must also be considered and embraced as a way to tackle the pandemic”
Since anti-body systems or strong immune system have been identified as resilient weapon against coronavirus, it is therefore rational that Federal and state governments should make efforts, through research to provide more food and vaccines that are rich in building immune systems of Nigerians.