The minister of health, Osagie Ehanire says the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has acquired enough reagents to test for coronavirus officially known as Covid-19 and two suspected cases are currently being tested.
The minister said the NCDC had tested two suspected cases which came out negative. He also said the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria has brought a treatment protocol which is already with the NCDC and some of the hospitals that have isolation centres.
On Nigeria’s preparedness, Ehanire while adrressing newsmen on Friday in Abuja insisted that Nigeria’s preparedness for the virus is very high adding that the ministry will also supply port health services with rapid test kit to test to rule out malaria on the spot.
On Lassa fever which has killed no fewer than 70 Nigerians with an increased number of cases, the minister informed that vaccine for the disease is underway as Irrua Specialist Hospital is working in collaboration with German experts to develop a vaccine.
“The scientists in Irrua have done a first stage, it might still take a couple of years because producing a vaccine is one stage and testing that it works and safe takes some time. It has to go through a lot of quality control before releasing into use, but there is a lot of progress in that is in place”, the minister said.
The minister also said that government is in the process of getting a sixth laboratory for Lassa Fever courtsey of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), which will be placed strategically to reduce distance of getting samples to laboratories.
He added that government is working to activate dormant laboratories and bind all laboratories in Nigeria including private and government owned to form a National Laboratory Network to ease access to diagnostic capacity.
Godsgift Onyedinefu, Abuja