The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), a philanthropic endeavor of Aliko Dangote, has contracted 54Gene, a molecular diagnostics company specialized in research, and diagnostics, to immediately set up a 400 test/day capacity laboratory in Kano State.
54Gene is accredited by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and has already set up labs in Lagos and in Ogun States.
The lab, which was inaugurated yesterday – May 3rd in Kano, will start with a testing capacity of 400 tests a day, increasing to 1,000 tests a day by May 10th. TheThe lab will be set up at Muhammadu Buhari Hospital in Kano, where an isolation center is currently operational.
The President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said the foundation is directly supporting the Nigerian Government’s COVID-19 containment efforts in Kano State.
According to Dangote, this new investment in support of increasing nation-wide testing, comes in addition to ADF’s support through the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
“CACOVID is already setting up a 310 bed isolation center at Sani Abacha stadium in Kano. We are extending that capacity by another 150 beds at the Abubakar Imam Urology Centre in Kano, which is being converted into an isolation center now. These two centers will be operational pending the final validation by the Infection Prevention and Control team, which we expect will be completed in the coming days.”
Dangote pledged the Foundation’s commitment to reduce the number of lives lost to diseases, such as COVID-19, Ebola and other deadly viruses in the State. HeHe said the foundation would not relent in using its investments in health, education, and economic empowerment to help lift people out of sickness and poverty.
Speaking on the efforts of the Aliko Dangote Foundation to assist the Federal Government in curtailing the spread of COVID-19, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of ADF, Zouera Youssoufou, added that ADF is also supporting the Rapid Response Teams in their work to identify suspected covid-19 cases across the healthcare centers in Kano.
“ADF will immediately handover to the Kano RRT, 10 new ambulances (4 that ae immediately available and 6 over the next week), two vehicles and PPEs to support the transportation of patients from different parts of the state”, she said.
She said that the Foundation is also supporting the Kano State Covid-19 contact call center that responds to citizen queries and concerns around Covid-19 and refers people to the proper place for follow up, by providing extra phone lines and ICT infrastructure as well as training for the call center staff. On training, she disclosed:
“We are supporting training and incentives for covid-19 health workers. We will provide hazard incentives and protections for the healthcare and lab workers who are working on the covid-19 response. We are also providing training to them, initially online and via distance learning, and will complement his with in-person training in Kano under strict IPC protocols developed in conjunction with the NCDC.
“ADF will continue to provide PPEs to the Kano State Covid-19 Taskforce, which will then be distributed to the hospitals as appropriate. Items already supplied include coveralls, gloves, masks, respirators, goggles, boots and sanitizers.
“We are expanding the CACOVID communications strategy in Kano by adding more communications and advocacy around Covid-19 prevention across radio, TV and traditional and community leaders.”
Commending ADF, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje stated:
“There’s no doubt we started on a shaky foundation, with assistance of ADF, we can see that a friend in deed is a friend in need. We are very grateful for the mobile testing Centre witch will launch with 400 samples per day and after a week, increase to 1,000 tests per day.
“It is now left for us to intensify efforts to collect samples. We will ensure that all that 44 Local Government Council have collection centres. Here in the metropolitan local government, we will have 100s of collection centres because this is where the majority of the population is”
The governor added that the state has intensify efforts to create awareness about the reality of coronavirus. He commended the Dangote Foundation for always occupying the forefront of helping in critical times like this.
Speaking on the collaboration, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of 54gene, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, the 40ft structure built with container technology, provides a unique plug-and-play solution.
Ene-Obong explained that the mobile laboratory is also fully kitted with vital instruments including an autoclave, bio-safety cabinet, centrifuge, heating blocks, vortexes, pipettes, and PCR machines to support COVID-19 testing. He stated:
“Our mobile lab is fully equipped with all the vital instruments required for COVID-19 testing, and allows us to quickly offer our services to multiple states due to the ease of transport. Its unique plug and play feature eliminates the logistics of shipping samples to another location for the processing which reduces turnaround times for test results and allows clinicians to manage and treat patients accurately, sooner rather than later.”
Ene-Obong said the company has also helped build capacity by equipping molecular scientists with the necessary skill set required to handle the instruments in the mobile lab as they would in regular molecular testing laboratories.
“Our mobile lab removes the restriction imposed by permanent buildings and allows us to quickly offer our services to multiple states due to the ease of transport and the mobile capability it provides”, he added.
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Covid-19: African Union in talks with China and Russia over vaccine
The AU and Africa CDC have revealed that they have reached out to both China and Russia over the possibility of vaccine partnerships.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union announced they have been in talks with China and Russia over the possibility of vaccine partnerships to ensure that Africa is not left behind when vaccines become available.
This was disclosed by John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Chief, at the Bloomberg Invest Africa online conference.
“We are not limiting ourselves to any particular partner. As a continent of 1.2 billion people, we are willing to work with any partner who adheres to our strategic plan for vaccine development and access in Africa.
He said that the WHO Covax programme only covers 20% of the population, but Africa will need 60% of its population vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
“There are multiple avenues being explored now to make sure Africa has the appropriate doses of vaccines and also that we have that in a timely fashion, not in a delayed manner,” Nkengasong said.
He revealed that the AFREXIM Bank agreed to finance vaccine procurement with $5 billion and is waiting to see how much it will receive from World Bank’s $12 billion vaccine procurement fund for developing nations.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier this month that Pfizer Inc. disclosed that its experimental vaccine, which is jointly developed with BioNTech, was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19, based on initial data from a large study in the ongoing phase 3 trials.
Last week, a pharmaceutical company, Moderna Inc., stated that its COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in treating coronavirus, after preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial.
The G-20 nations also announced a pledge to pay for vaccine distribution to developing nations that could not afford it. The leaders also unveiled a debt extension programme to developing nations during the weekend’s G-20 summit.
The Federal Government of Nigeria also announced through the Ministry of Health, that it would inaugurate an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team, in a bid to ensure vaccine security In Nigeria.
Covid-19: EU considers skipping vaccine patents to boost vaccine access
The EU has disclosed plans to increase its access to Covid-19 vaccines by offering financial incentives to vaccine production companies.
The European Union says its planning emergency measures to increase its access to Covid-19 vaccines including sidestepping patent rights and offering financial incentives to vaccine production companies to move production to Europe.
This was revealed in an EU document on Wednesday and reported by Reuters. The Document says the EU may create an emergency coordination mechanism to be issued at short notice when the EU needs a vaccine license, which is different from fully patent waivers, discussed in the WTO last week.
The EU says the new move will ensure faster procedures during a pandemic, which will enable generic production in the EU without the consent of patent holders.
“The Commission sees the need to ensure that effective systems for issuing compulsory licenses are in place, to be used as a means of last resort and a safety net, when all other efforts to make IP (intellectual property) available have failed,” the EU’s document said.
The EU’s actions may be triggered by its inability to access the antiviral drug, remdesivir, during the pandemic, as the United States ordered most of the stock.
The EU also disclosed that it will begin a consultation process with pharmaceutical companies next year to address issues in its pharmaceutical value chains. They added that measures could be imposed to encourage manufacturers to move pharmaceutical production to Europe from China and India.
“The Commission calls on member states to ensure that the tools they have are as effective as possible; for instance, by putting in place fast-track procedures for issuing compulsory licenses in emergency situations,” the EU said.
They added that it is urgent “to assess whether manufacturing capacity for certain critical medicines may be required in the EU.”
“We need to be able to rely on ourselves, not on others,” the Commission’s Vice President, Margaritis Schinas said. He disclosed that the EU is working on more compliance with drug supply need and increased stock levels by 2022.
What you should know
This comes as surprise considering the EU rejected a World Trade Organization (WTO) proposal last week to waive the intellectual property rights needed for the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines. The waiver would have made the vaccine access cheaper for developing nations.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 25th of November 2020, 198 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 66,805 confirmed cases.
On the 25th of November 2020, 198 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 5,838 samples across the country.
To date, 66,805 cases have been confirmed, 62,493 cases have been discharged and 1,169 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 749,136 tests have been carried out as of November 25th, 2020 compared to 743,298 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 25th November 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 66,805
- Total Number Discharged – 62,493
- Total Deaths – 1,169
- Total Tests Carried out – 749,136
According to the NCDC, the 198 new cases were reported from 13 states- FCT (53), Lagos (48), Ogun (40), Akwa Ibom (20), Bauchi (9), Plateau (8), Kaduna (5), Kano (4), Benue (3), Jigawa (3), Nasarawa(3), Edo (1), Kwara (1)
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,066, followed by Abuja (6,629), Plateau (3,813), Oyo (3,715), Rivers (2,963), Kaduna (2,945), Edo (2,696), Ogun (2,196), Delta (1,823), Kano (1,781), Ondo (1,727), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,096), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,012), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (762), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 662 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (488), Bayelsa (445), Ekiti (354), Akwa Ibom (339), Jigawa (331), Niger (296), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (157), Yobe (94), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.