By Miriam Humbe
Prof. Alex Akpa, the acting Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), has said that the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be managed with innovative approaches with cutting-edge biotechniques in testing new cases and managing identified ones.
Prof. Akpa disclosed this in his presentation at the meeting of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and the Federal Ministry of Health on Covid-19 pandemic on Friday in Abuja.
In a statement signed by Director, Press and PR in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Abdulganiyu Aminu, Prof. Akpa who said the Covid-19 does not conform to the conventional knowledge of viral infection revealed that NABDA has proposed a cocktail of interventions which include:
* Development of reagents and inputs to support the laboratories for testing SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 as this is particularly important because being a global pandemic, if import persists, will become limiting factors for case confirmation.
* Determination of prevalent strains of the SARS-COV-2 to enable efficient deployment of vaccination in due course. Strain identification will enable the availability of vital data required for efficient design and validation of COVID-19 vaccine
* Design and conduct of antibody testing to determine the immunity level of the populace, especially the working population. This will enable the government to generally categorize population vulnerability and specifically, delineate the working population into susceptible and resilient sects for the purpose of systematic re-opening of the economy
* Specifically, conduct antibody testing, especially for casual farm and logistics workers (during the harvest period) that serves as an interface between farmers and majority of Nigerian consumers. The aim is to identify carriers of COVID-19 causative agents and minimize the risk of contamination of farm produce such as cabbage, lettuce, carrot, tomatoes, pepper, mangoes and oranges etc., that are intended for the general populace and;
* NABDA is poised to participate in the WHO COVID-19 vaccine testing programme scheduled to commence soon in Africa.