As part of its support for the national pandemic response, MTN Nigeria through its foundation on Friday 13 August, donated Oligo-synthesizer equipment to the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) to aid local development of primers for indigenous production of test kits for COVID-19 and other diseases.
With the emergence of new coronavirus (COVID-19) variants driving continued global concern, testing remains critical to slowing the spread of the virus and mitigating its threat to lives and livelihoods.
The Oligo-synthesizer is extremely useful in current laboratory practice as it provides rapid and inexpensive access to custom-made DNA or RNA molecules of the desired sequence.
Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, minister of State for Health, said the equipment will position Nigeria to rapidly develop polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, performed to detect genetic material from a specific organism, like the COVID-19 virus.
“Our gathering is a testimony to our desire not to be left behind in the global resolve to confront the situation at hand that is COVID-19. It is a battle that can be won through collaborative effort like the one we’re witnessing today with MTN Foundation. NIMR has surpassed our expectations as the foremost medical research facilities in Africa and appreciate MTN Nigeria for this donation,” said Mamora.
Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, the chairman of MTN Foundation, said the Foundation embarked on projects with clear goal of improving the quality of life of Nigerians. In line with this, MTN Foundation partnered with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in establishing the Oligo-synthesis laboratory.
“Working with public and private sector partners to provide solutions that alleviate some of our society’s biggest problems and create lasting change in communities across the country is at the heart of what we do. As we celebrate 20 years of operations in Nigeria, we are further motivated to implement projects of maximum impact in our communities,” he stated.
According to Adelusi-Adeluyi, the Foundation in the last 16 years has implemented over 842 projects across Nigeria, affecting over 16m individuals with a total sum of about N22.7 billion intervention in various sectors of the economy.
Babatunde Lawal Salako, director-general, NIMR, said the Oligo-synthesizer provides a paradigm shift in public health response, research and development in Nigeria.
According to him, the NIRM Oligo-synthesizer laboratory will put Nigerian researchers in the forefront of vaccine production for local use. “The donation of Oligo-synthesizer machine by MTN Nigeria is not just for the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research alone; rather, it is to the whole country.”