The Federal Government on 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 informed that the kit would enable Nigeria to test five million farmers and laborers to ensure that the food security chain was not compromised by COVID-19.
He disclosed that the kit which is designed, developed, and validated by Nigerian scientists, holds huge potentials for the country’s plan at scaling up testing for COVID-19.
According to him, “The diagnostic kit is a product of cutting edge biotechnology which involves the 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 added that the validation of 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 went further to say that 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.”
Meanwhile, during the launch of the kit, the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu promised that the kit will be affordable and available to all poor Nigerians, as about 10 million kits have been produced with more to be produced in the near future.
Similarly, The Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono on his part stated that the kit was capable of increasing productivity in the agricultural sector.