(Ifeanyi Nwoko, NAN)
Locally made Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) backed by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) may be set for launch soon.
The equipment, which had already scaled tests by the Standards Organisation of Nigerian (SON), and currently being tested by NAFDAC, is a collaboration between the council and the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
This was disclosed on Wednesday when the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Kabir Bala led a team on a working visit to the Council’s headquarters in Abuja.
Bala said the council gave the grant to support the research and the production of the PPE kits.
In recent times, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government tried to reawaken our institutions to provide homegrown solutions to these problems.
“Solutions from other countries are not readily available, for instance when the pandemic started, face masks were not easily available, therefore, we had to look inwards.
“The Polymer department is involved in the production of PPE against COVID-19. The department is working in collaboration with the council and the council has given it a grant.
“We ran to RMRDC and the council promised to assist us, so far it has given the research team N2 million and promised 300,000 dollars-worth of equipment.
“The products have been produced, they have passed SON tests and some of them are in NAFDAC, we will take it further from there,” he said.
The VC, however, stressed that the university had already produced face masks, ventilators and a four in one sanitiser among others.
Speaking after the tour of the RMRDC’s Resource Centre, he said that there were still many areas of collaboration, which could be sought between the two organisations.
According to him, the university is also setting up an incubation centre, and it is ready to partner with RMRDC in pharmaceutical and ceramics industry.
For his part, the Director-General of the Council, Prof. Hussaini Ibrahim said that the RMRDC had enjoyed a long-standing relationship with ABU.
He noted that they have had a number of collaborations over the years, including the development of modular refineries, which was still ongoing.
On the production of PPE, the DG said that the council was given the charge by the Minister of Science and Technology to localise the production of the kits.
He stressed that the key role of the council was to employ reverse engineering in determining the composition of the products and support manufacturers with a source of raw materials to reproduce them.
“We now have to look inwards, look at the ones that are imported, what they are made of and then we now begin to source the raw materials for their production,” he said
The DG also noted that the council was also working in partnership in the area of pharmaceuticals to develop medications that could tackle underlying illnesses that make people more susceptible to COVID -19.
“The most vulnerable group are people that have high blood pressure, people that are diabetic or have other underlying illness, we have been working on all of these areas.
“We have gone far in the medicine for Tuberculosis, high cholesterol and we also showcased our anti-diabetic, which is a collaboration with Usman Danfodio University,” he said.
He commended ABU for their focus on the pharmaceutical industry, stressing that their call for collaboration was indeed welcomed and would be strengthened to achieve success.
The DG also pointed out that the council was also collaborating with the university on textile engineering, adding that the private sector was also involved so that the result of the partnership could quickly be implemented.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the RMRDC had been in the news recently for having developed technology for Kilishi production in its 33 years of existence.
NAN further reports that the council had been involved in a number of research and development, which had impacted sectors such as beverage, brewery and fruit juice; Pharmaceutical, chemical and automobile industry as well as the Agro-allied industry