The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has said that there was community transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Lagos and Kano states.

The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu. made this known at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) media briefing on Monday in Abuja.

Ihekweazu said that 23 molecular laboratories had been activated within the agency’s network of laboratories, to scale up testing.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 23 laboratories in the NCDC’s network are the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Federal Capital Territory( FCT) and Defence Reference Laboratory, FCT.

The Virology Laboratory, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos State, Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory, Lagos and the laboratory at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo.

There are some others at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos, the Virology Laboratory ,University College Hospital, Oyo State and the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki in Ebonyi.

The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Osun, National Veterinary Research Institute,Vom, Plateau, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State and the DNA Laboratory, Kaduna State.

Others are also located in the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno Centre for Advanced Medical Research and Training (CARMET) and Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto State.

Some are also sited at the African Centre of Excellence for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology, Zaria, Kaduna State and Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Bayero University Kano.

There are also the 54gene Mobile Laboratory, Ogun,  54gene Mobile Laboratory , Lagos State, 54gene Mobile Laboratory, Kano State and Mobile laboratory, Delta State in the agency’s network, to scale up testing for COVID-19.

The NCDC laboratories are also located in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State University Teaching Hospital Satellite Molecular Laboratory and University of Benin Teaching Hospital.

Ihekweazu said that the NCDC would be integrating private sector laboratories into its laboratory architecture with guidelines to be published on Monday tonight.

“Private laboratories that want to join the network should download it and see what is required; we will be available to support them through the process,” he said.

He said that Nigeria needed a National Laboratory Information Management System for real-time access to laboratory results, instead of having to send results from one place to another.

Ihekweazu said:“Instead of having different Labs for diagnosing COVID, HIV, Measles, TB, etc, Nigeria needs to have a National Network of Molecular Laboratories that can diagnose multiple infections.

“After this pandemic Nigeria will not be the same in terms of Lab diagnostics capacity.”

Earlier,  Mr Boss Mustapha, Chairman PTF on COVID-19 and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, said that Nigeria would receive Madagascar’s COVID-19 cure drug – `COVID ORGANICS’.

Mustapha said that the Republic of Madagascar offered the herbal drug meant for the prevention and cure of COVID-19 to Nigeria and other African countries.

He said that the drug had  been sent to Equatorial Guinea from where it would be airlifted to Abuja.

He, however, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had duely instructed him to ensure that the COVID ORGANICS was validated before its use in Nigeria.

The drug, which had been criticised by some Western countries, however, had proven effective in the East African country with no case of death as a result of COVID-19.

NAN

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