NCDC flags-off on-site testing

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is set to begin on-site collation of test samples by leveraging the Gene Expert machines instead of relying on PCR molecular lab procedures which takes longer time for diagnosis, the Federal Government has said.

The Gene Expert machines have been deployed in the National Hospital, Abuja; University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada. New state molecular laboratories are also being optimised in Kebbi and Bayelsa states, the NATION reports.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), however, said more still needs to be done in sample collection by states to determine the positivity rate in each state.

Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, said: “We are continuing with plans to reduce case fatality rate to less than one per cent, by optimising response activities and cooperation with states according to their challenges.

“A new state molecular laboratory is currently being optimised in Kebbi and Bayelsa states, while a Gene Expert machine has been set up at the National Hospital, Abuja and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada, as was announced some weeks ago.

“This means that suspected COVID-19 emergencies can now be diagnosed on site, which will reduce turn around and waiting time, and allow better utilisation of observation rooms.

“ With the imperative to reopen our economy, relax local and international air travel to support restoration of livelihoods, the experience in other countries is that COVID-19 infection rates have gone up, in some cases, dramatically. We must strive therefore not to lose our attention to preserving lives or lose the gains we have made over the months.

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