The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) on Friday unveiled Monkeypox Diagnostic Kits in a bid to increase case detection of monkeypox virus in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the diagnostic kits were unveiled by the Minister of State for Health, Hon. Joseph Ekumankama, who was on a working visit to the Institution in Lagos.
NAN reports that monkeypox virus is an enveloped double stranded DNA virus which belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on July 23, declared the spread of monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, with cases in 105 countries globally, including Nigeria.
Ekumankama commended NIMR for coming up with the kit, adding that the local development capacity of such was long overdue for Nigeria.
He lauded NIMR for its enormous contribution to the health sector in the country through its groundbreaking researches.
” I’m delighted to be part of this initiative which is capable of reducing the disease burden on our communities due to early detection.
“The government and people of Nigeria will continue to look up to institutions like NIMR to drive the research and development in medicine and reposition the country to promptly response to emerging disease outbreak.
“This is absolutely necessary if Nigeria is to catch up with the rest of the world especially in the area of vaccine development and numerous diseases ravaging our country”.
Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director-General of NIMR, said the diagnostic kits were developed to bridge the gap in testing for monkeypox in the country.
Salako said the kits, readily available and cheaper when compared to the commercially once, have a 95 per cent sensitivity and 100 per cent specificity based on in-house validation.
“In Nigeria, between January and now, more than 200 confirmed cases have been reported and this shows that our testing capacity in Nigeria is limited.
“This could be attributable to unavailability of diagnostic kits and that is why our researchers have come up with this PCR detection kit for monkeypox viral DNA.
“The NIMR monkeypox detection kits use the principle of real time polymerase chain reaction technique to detect the presence of monkeypox viral DNA samples,” he said.
Salako commended the Federal Government for supporting the institute, while calling for more funds to further increase its research capacity.
NAN reports that the minister also inaugurated a Clinical Trials Centre and Emerging Virus Disease Laboratory in NIMR. (NAN)