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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FG says international passengers must be tested by private labs 7 days after returning
The directive is aimed at early detection of the virus and reducing the risk of its further transmission.
The Federal Government has announced that all returning international passengers must be tested by a certified private laboratory after 7 days, on returning to the country.
This disclosure was made by the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, during the briefing of the task force on Thursday, September 17, 2020.
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He said that it was to enable early detection of the coronavirus disease and reduce the risk of its further transmission.
Dr. Aliyu stated, “To enable early detection and reduce the risk of further transmission based on data and our current laboratory capacity, all incoming travelers must be tested by a certified private laboratory after 7 days of returning to the country.
And there are only three criteria for these private laboratories to get on to the portal. Firstly, they have to be licensed through the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria. Secondly, they must have undergone a process of validation and optimization by NCDC, and then thirdly, they must be accredited by the state government because their results will feed into the state numbers.’’
He said that the Federal Government had already reached out to states, urging them to work with the private laboratories within their areas and come up with the list of accredited laboratories that were able to meet those requirements.
Although Dr. Sani Aliyu revealed that at the moment, they only had portals for Lagos and Abuja, he said there were arrangements with the laboratories serving these areas to be responsible for collecting samples for passengers outside Lagos and Abuja.
He also noted that they were working very hard to open up more private laboratories across the rest of the country. He said that the government believed that as more laboratories get registered and came on to the portal, it would be easier to continue to push down the cost of PCR test.
All incoming travellers must be tested by a certified private laboratory after seven days of returning to the country. – Sani Aliyu, PTF National Coordinator.#PTFBriefing #COVID19Update#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/bImya7abxo
— Channels Television (@channelstv) September 17, 2020
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 17th of September 2020, 131 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 56,735 confirmed cases.
On the 17th of September 2020, 131 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.
To date, 56,735 cases have been confirmed, 48,092 cases have been discharged and 1,093 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 482,321 tests have been carried out as of September 17th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 17th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 56,735
- Total Number Discharged – 48,092
- Total Deaths – 1,093
- Total Tests Carried out – 482,321
According to the NCDC, the 131 new cases were reported from 18 states- Lagos (45), Kaduna (17), Plateau (17), FCT (16), Delta (6), Niger (6), Kwara (5), Oyo (3), Akwa Ibom (2), Cross River (2), Ekiti (2), Enugu (2), Osun (2), Sokoto (2), Bauchi (1), Ebonyi (1), Katsina (1), Rivers (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,768, followed by Abuja (5,504), Oyo (3,226), Plateau (3,175), Edo (2,610), Kaduna (2,322), Rivers (2,209), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,755), Kano (1,733), Ondo (1,590), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,035), Kwara (1,009), Katsina (845), Abia (835), Osun (807), Gombe (779), Borno (741), and Bauchi (682).
Imo State has recorded 551 cases, Benue (467), Nasarawa (447), Bayelsa (393), Jigawa (322), Ekiti (307), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (250), Anambra (232), Adamawa (230), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (73), 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.
Moderna to seek emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine
Moderna said the FDA will determine the health-risk of vaccine.
Moderna Inc has concluded plans to seek for emergency authorization for the use of its Covid-19 vaccine on high-risk groups if it proves to be at least 70% effective.
This disclosure was made by the Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, Stephane Bancel, during a telephone interview with Reuters.
Bancel said, “If the interim readout is deemed by the independent safety committee as positive with 70 or 80 or 90% efficacy, we will indeed consider approval. At such a level of efficacy, if we get there, we can protect a lot of lives in the people at the highest risk, and so, we will consider filing for an EUA for a very limited population.”
He disclosed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will determine whether the benefit of the vaccine to a small group of high-risk individuals is greater than the risk of not having a full readout of safety data from all 30,000 study participants.
Bancel noted that the 2 groups of high-risk individuals who might be covered in such Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) would be the healthcare workers and the elderly.
According to him, the company wants to gather more data on the safety of the vaccine in the study population over a period of several months before seeking full FDA’s approval.
Moderna’s vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, which is at the conclusion stage with its move to enrol 30,000 volunteers in a final stage trial of a novel coronavirus vaccine may be able to announce its success early if it is able to show that people who got doses of the vaccine fared much better in its trial than people who didn’t.
Vaccines must show they are at least 50% more effective than a placebo to be considered for approval. Government officials said that in order to show its effectiveness, at least 150 people with Covid-19 infections must be recorded as trial participants with at least twice as many occurring among the placebo group.