The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Yaba, Lagos is set to begin local manufacture of test kits for Lassa and Yellow fever with the inauguration of four production facilities.
Director General (DG), NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Lawal Salako, at commissioning of four new projects at the institute, last week, supported by the Federal Government intervention funds, said the projects are to meet up with the component and mandate of the institution to provide and conduct research on disease of public health importance.
Salako said: “In the last one year, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) has made much significant importance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the country continues to experience cases of Lassa fever and Yellow fever even inside the pandemic. In order to make controls of these diseases easy and timely, NIMR researchers have developed diagnosis kits for these diseases, these kits have been thoroughly evaluated in-house and also in the centre for human biology and zoonosis of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos.”
The four projects include Lassa and Yellow fever kits; the E-library and administrative complex; the food safety laboratory and the toxicology laboratory.
The DG spoke on the various reasons why these projects were initiated and the benefits that they would serve the country at large. He announced that the institution received a letter from World Health Organisation (WHO) that NIMR lab has been designated as the WHO national Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) drug resistance alleviation. Salako tagged this as a big progress for the institute and thanked all the board members involved in the project as it started since 2015.
Mr. Joseph Shaibu who developed the Lassa and Yellow fever test kits thanked the DG and all other board members for giving him the privilege of presenting the two kits that have been developed. He gave an in-depth breakdown of the kits and how effective they will be in eradicating Lassa and yellow fever in the country. Shuaib thanked the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for giving him samples to work with and validates the kits because, without the samples, it would have not been possible to develop the kits.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, in his keynote address, thanked the DG of NIMR for all the works he has been doing in the institute and many more that he will do. He also appreciated the works of the institute members and asked that they join hands in moving the institute forward.
When asked how he feels about the progress of the institution, he said: “I am very impressed with the work NIMR is doing, this projects are beneficial to not just Nigeria society but humanity in general. I advise the institution to work together with the director-general so that more things can be achieved in the ministry.”