The Federal Government Thursday in Abuja launched a diagnostic kit, RNASwift, for the identification of coronavirus’ causal agent.
The acting Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof Alex Akpa, whose agency produced the kit, said the kit would enable Nigeria to test five million farmers and labourers to ensure food security chain was not compromised by COVID-19
According to him, the kit which was designed, developed and validated by Nigerian scientists, holds huge potentials for the country’s plan at scaling up testing for COVID-19,
“The diagnostic kit is a product of cutting-edge biotechnology which involves exploitation of molecular biology to design, develop and validate a cost-effective but yet very top-of-the range kit for COVID-19 testing”, Akpa said.
He added the development and validation of the kit was also a reflection of the creativity that had gone on in Nigerian laboratories working in collaboration with some scientists in the United Kingdom.
He said the kit would reshape Nigeria’s testing approach and bring the power of large scale and precise testing closer to more Nigerians.
“This is a giant leap in the quest to ensure that every Nigerian and indeed every African gets the best attention needed to survive the COVID-19 pandemic”, Akpa said.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu and his Agriculture counterpart, Sabo Nanono, jointly launched the kit.
Onu, while speaking before unveiling the kit, said it would be affordable to all poor Nigerians.
The minister said about 10 million kits had been produced and more would be produced in the near future.
On his part, Nanono said the kit was capable of increasing productivity in the agricultural sector.