Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Prof. Maurice Iwu, at a meeting in Abuja, FCT

Special Report: Nigerian scientists’ efforts at curbing Coronavirus

* Federal Ministry offers N36million for scientists’ findings

* Health Minister unveils locally-made hand sanitiser for Nigerians

* WHO commends Nigeria on swiftness, transparency on Coronavirus

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Nigeria’s preparations to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its attendant socio-economic implications on the African largest economy may soon yield fruitful results, as the Federal Government says certain indigenous scientists are close to generating a cure for the deadly disease currently ravaging several economies across the world.

The Government has revealed that a committee from the Nigerian Academy of Science was constituted to verify the claims of four scientists who say they have found the cure for Coronavirus and Lassa fever respectively.

It was gathered that Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Honourable Minister for Science and Technology, insisted that there are strong indications that Nigeria is about to record a major breakthrough for the cure of these devastating diseases.

According to Dr. Onu, the Government is offering N36,000,000 as an incentive to Nigerian scientists to enable them research into the cure for the virus.

ConsumerConnect recalls that Professor Maurice Iwu had earlier claimed that he has the cure to Covid-19.

Likewise, three other Nigerian scientists have also joined Prof. Iwu to take up the Minister for Science and Technology’s challenge as they submitted their scientific claims for verification at the Nigerian Academy of Science.

In a recent chat with newsmen, Dr. Onu stated that he is convinced that Nigeria has some of the most intelligent people in the world.

“When we have problems, I don’t want us each time to be looking at other people for the solution.

“I feel that if the world has a problem, if Nigeria has a problem, we should look inwards. We should look for Nigerians that can do it.

“We looked at the budget we have in the ministry. And we say, yet it is an encouragement. It’s like trying to tell our scientists ‘we know you can do this.’

“We can motivate you. And we are very serious about that,” Onu said.

He further stated that any scientist that is able to come up with not just a cure, but a better way to manage either the Lassa fever or the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), would receive N36million.

Scientists at work in a laboratory    Photo: BBC

“So far, we have received about four now.

“Four scientists have sent in the information that they have, what they believe can approximate a cure or can lead to a cure,” he stated.

As Coronavirus otherwise known as Covid-19 is claiming more lives across the globe, many scientists are forced to engage in more research towards finding a cure.

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, and Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health, at a media briefing on Coronavirus updates in Abuja.

As part of the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts at curbing the spread of Coronavirus, Dr. Obi Adigwe, Director-General, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), recently presented Nigeria’s new locally-made hand sanitiser to Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister for Health, in Abuja, FCT.

The Federal Government was said to have started the locally produced hand sanitisers to curb scarcity and high demand for the product, as Nigerians grapple to maintain good hygiene habits since the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in the country.

Dr. Ehanire, on the occasion, said the new product was unveiled by Dr. Adigwe.

The NIPRD Director-General noted that due to the global fall-outs of the COVID-19 outbreak, it was necessary for the agency to put measures in place to help address shortages and supply chain disruptions.

“One of the global fall-outs of the recent outbreak has been the supply chain disruptions of various commodities that are relevant to controlling the outbreak.

“These disruptions have either been through panic buying or genuine shortages and this has been global; Nigeria has not been left out in this.

“It is with the sense of national pride and patriotism that I’m here to present to you, a hand sanitiser which has undergone pilot product development at NIPRD, and which is of the highest quality in terms of ensuring activities against the spread of Coronavirus,” he stated.

Dr. Obi Adigwe, Director-General of NIPRD (l) presents the Nigerian-produced hand sanitiser to Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

It would be recalled also that the World Health Organisation (WHO) March 1, 2020, revealed that over 20 vaccines are in development globally, and several therapeutics are in clinical trials all aimed at getting rid of Coronavirus.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said in his opening remarks at a media briefing on COVID-19, WHO’s Director-General, that first results on vaccines and therapeutics are expected in a few weeks’ time.

The United Nations global healthcare body, therefore, has advised all countries to prepare for caring for patients severely sickened by the deadly new Coronavirus by stocking up on ventilators.

“Oxygen therapy is a major treatment intervention for patients with severe COVID-19,” WHO had emphasised this in its latest situation report on the disease.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has commended the Nigerian Government for measures taken to contain the spread of Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in the country thus far.

Dr. Ghebreyesus recognised the government’s effort in a tweet Saturday, March 7.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO)

He also thanked the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for its efforts since the index case of the virus was reported late February 2020.

The WHO Director-General noted that Nigeria was swift and transparent in the manner it shared the sequence of Coronavirus from the country’s first case.

“This a true act of solidarity and an important step in stopping the Coronavirus from spreading further,” he said.

His remarks were said to be in reaction to an earlier tweet by the NCDC that Nigeria has published the first African SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence, from Coronavirus.

His tweet did not go unnoticed as Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, thanked the Ethiopian head of WHO for recognising the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria and others fighting the virus in the country.

Additional reports by Alexander Davis and Gbenga Kayode

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