COVID-19 Roundup; Redeemers University Develops 30-Minute Test Kits, Hajj Cancelation and Others


As the numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Nigeria and the world, more innovations are been developed by researchers across the world to battle the pandemic. Here is a roundup of the occurrences over the past 7 days.

Overall increase in Covid-19 cases

A week ago on June 16, the number of confirmed cases in the country was 17,148 and 100,000 tests had been carried out. Between then and June 22, 7,569 people have been tested, and 3,771 have tested positive for the virus.

Stats from NCDC for June 22, 2020

  • Confirmed cases = 20,919
  • Active cases = 13,285
  • Recoveries = 7,109
  • Number of deaths = 525

Redeemer’s University Develops 30-minute Test Kits

A professor, Christian Happi has developed a diagnostic test kit for the Covid-19. The test kits, developed in conjunction with Pardis Sabeti, are about ready to be rolled out, according to Happi. In 30 minutes, the kit determines if a suspected person has the virus or not. It can be administered by anyone, anywhere.

Happi is a professor of molecular biology and genomics at African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in Redeemer’s University, Ede Osun State. Sabeti is a professor at the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University in the United States.

National and regional health bodies in the country are expected to team up with the research centre to make the kits available. This will significantly increase the number of tests that are being carried out daily in the country, as the government targets 3,000 daily tests.

 A scientist at African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) Redeemer’s University Ede, Osun State.

On Monday, June 22, the NCDC unveiled a new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine to boost COVID-19 testing in the country.

The PCR machine is expected to help the government attain a testing capacity of 3,000 per day. It is stationed at the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL), a campus of the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Lagos.

The machine was procured using part of the £661,000 UKAid funding that the British government donated to the Nigeria branch of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2020.

Nigerian Researchers Discover Preventive Vaccine

A preventive vaccine for the virus has reportedly been discovered by a group of Nigerian researchers led by Dr Kolawole Oladipo, a Healthcare Research Scientist and Lecturer of the Department of Microbiology, Adeleke University, Ede.

The study was initially funded by the Trinity Immunodeficient Laboratory and Helix Biogen Consult, Ogbomosho, with an estimated amount of N7.8 million ($20,000).

Kolawole said that his team had worked extensively on the virus’s genome from samples across Africa to select the best potential vaccine candidates.

“The vaccine is real. We have validated it several times. It is targeted at Africans, but will also work for other races. It will work. It cannot be faked. This is a result of the determination. It took a lot of scientific efforts,” he said.

He also said the vaccine will take about 18 months before it can be deployed for widespread use.

Suggested read: Ventures Platform’s Kola Aina Calls for Tech Solutions to Help the NCDC Combat COVID-19

Hajj cancellation for pilgrims

On Monday, June 22, Saudi Arabia issued an announcement saying that the Hajj pilgrimage will not be open to Muslims from outside the country this year. Last December, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria had scheduled the airlifting of 2020 Hajj pilgrims from the country to start from June 22, 2020.

This is no longer the case following Saudi Arabia’s announcement.

With a test kit that can deliver results in 30 minutes, relatively faster than the 7 to 8 hours that was possible before, the rate of detecting, isolating, and treating confirmed cases will increase. This will overall help in limiting the spread of the virus. A preventive vaccine, in the development stage, is also good news to look forward to in the months to come.

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