Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, NCDC

Why NCDC desperately seeks more testing kits -DG

* Lists preferred product brands, manufacturers 

* Nigeria ought to scale up its testing ─NMA President
Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect
In view of the increasing number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country but inadequate reagents for molecular diagnostic testing for the deadly virus, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said it is “desperately” looking for more ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction kits to expand testing capacity.

RNA is a nucleic acid containing ribose found in all living cells, which is essential for protein synthesis.

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, in tweeted via a verified Twitter account Sunday, April 26 stated: “We’re desperately looking for more RNA extraction kits as we expand our COVID-19 testing.

“Product: Total viral RNA extraction kits (preferably spin column and with a lysis buffer).
“Manufacturers: Qiagen, Thermo Fischer, SeeGene, Inqaba, LifeRiver, etc.”

It was learnt that the NCDC had done 10,413 tests as of April 24, 2020, with about 600 people tested daily.

The Nation reports that on this development, Dr. Francis Faduyile, President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), however, said if Ghana could test over 50,000 and South Africa has tested over 100,000, Nigeria ought to scale up its testing this time.

Dr. Faduyile stated that “we have said there is a need for us to have some rapid screening kits. NMA has suggested that our pathologists should validate some of these rapid testing kits.

“Once it is validated, it should be easier for us to do tests in a much more rapid period and we can test a large number of people in a very short period.”

Likewise, Dr. Godswill Okara, Registrar/Secretary General, West African Postgraduate College of Medical Laboratory Science (WAPCMLS), said Nigeria needed more test kits.

Dr. Okara posited that “given our population, one would have expected that we will get a lot more than any other country in Africa because even South Africa that does not have up to half of our population got a lot more kits than Nigeria.

“They had a lot of testing centres, and they were able to mobilise their system to put them to use.

“Now that the testing centres have increased, Nigeria is upscaling testing; it becomes necessary that more kits are needed,” he said.

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