Senate Tasks Medical Research Institute on commercialisation of Molecular Test for COVID-19


By Raphael EKpang

Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe has tasked  the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR on commercialization of molecular test for COVID-19 that gives test result in less than 40 minutes.

He made this known during an interface of the Senate Committee with NIMR on Wednesday.

The Director General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Lawal Salako while briefing the committee on the activities of NIMR said a molecular test for COVID-19 being developed by his institute can give test results in less than 40 minutes.

He said, “Importantly, low-skilled personnel can be trained to perform this assaay in tertiary cadre of health facilities.

He said in June, 2020 the Fate Philanthropy Coalition against COVID (FPCC) awarded NIMR a grant to support the ‘in-house design and development of point-of-care isothermal real-time test detecting SAR-Co V -2 “

According to him, the novel coronavirus named SAR-Co V -2 has become a pandemic. 

“A key element in containing its spread is to identify people infected. However, testing centres are limited and mostly available in urban areas. Lack of diagnosis or misdiagnosis leads to missed infections that could fuel the spread of the virus.”

He said “the impact of this innovation is a fast and sensitive point-of-care test for SARS-CoV-2 using molecular technique, the most reliable and not just antibodies/antigen testing. 

“Coupled with the RNA extraction, system we can achieve same throughput, with 32 tests in one hour.”

Corereporters report that the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Oloriegbe however said private organisations should be involved in the production of testing kits since the major role of research institutes is to carry out research and come out with findings.


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