Accreditation: NCDC inspects UNIZIK Molecular Research Laboratory

 An accreditation team from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has visited the Nnewi Campus of Nnamdi Azikiwe University for the optimisation and accreditation of its Molecular Research Laboratory.

Mr Bright Anyanwu, the Secretary, College of Health Sciences, Nnewi Campus of the university in a statement, said the team was led by Mr Adeleye Adesola.

He said the visit to the institution from May 24 to 28 was a basic step in the accreditation process for the approval of the research centre as a site for COVID-19 testing.

Anyanwu said the approval would create an opportunity for the research laboratory to become a centre for detection of other pathogens such as  Lassa fever virus and monkey pox virus.

He said the molecular research laboratory was the most equipped laboratory in the university, adding that it was a milestone achievement in the history of the College of Health Sciences in the campus.

“Some of the activities performed by the NCDC team during the accreditation programme are the validation of the Real-time PCR machine and real time PCR kits.

“Calibration and certification of two class II biosafety cabinets, introduction of a proper unidirectional workflow for all laboratories within the centre and staff training on biosafety and biosecurity were also performed.

“Training on proper use of PPEs; sample collection; sample reception and processing; equipment use and maintenance as well as inspection of basic facilities within the centre were also performed,” he said.

He said the research centre was set up in line with the Project200 Policy by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Charles Esimone to expedite cutting edge research in the biomedical sciences.

According to him, at the centre, research can be conducted in virology including, Virus Isolation; Molecular Biology; Immunology including Vaccinology; vaccine antigenicity and immunogenicity assays.

He said other areas research would be conducted at the centre were cancer research; parasite culture for vaccine and drug discoveries; cell culture; cytotoxicity assay and cell viability assay.

Anyanwu said environmental research, including waste water studies and isolation of viruses and their genomes from waste water; toxicology and biobanking services would also be researched at the centre.

He said the centre also has a diagnostic laboratory section for high tech routine analysis.

“The molecular laboratory is equipped with high tech pieces of equipment such as real time PCR machine, automated nucleic acid extractor, photo documentation system, incubators and fridge for waste water studies,’’ he added.

He said the university had equipped the laboratory with solar powered inverters and a standby generator to ensure adequate power supply.

Anyanwu said the molecular research laboratory was established by the university management to serve the university community and promote cutting edge research among staff and training of Postgraduate students. (NAN)