COVID-19: Senate Committee to assist Institute on commercialisation of  Molecular Test



By Haruna Salami
Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe has thrown it’s weight behind the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR on commercialization of molecular test kis for COVID-19 that gives test result in less than 40 minutes.
He made this known during an interface of the Senate Committee with NIMR on Wednesday while welcoming what he called the rapid COVID-19 testing kits.
“Currently in Nigeria the recognised testing process is the PCR, which as at last Friday when the NCDC was briefing us when we opened the Gwagwalada centre, is about 4-6 hours in term of the process from when the sample was collected, the isolation and then it will go to another stage before the final amplification. But this one is between 36-40 minutes”, Oloriegbe said.
The Director General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Salako while briefing the committee on research findings at NIMR said a molecular test kit for COVID-19 develped by his institute can give test results in less than 40 minutes.
He said, “importantly, low-skilled personnel can be trained to perform this assay in tertiary cadre of health facilities.
“In June, 2020 the Fate Philanthropy Coalition against COVID, FPCC awarded NIMR a grant to support the ‘in-house Design and Development of point-of-care isothermal real-time test detecting SARS-Co V -2”, Salako said.
According to him, the novel coronavirus named SAR-Co V -2 has become a pandemic.
“A key element in containing its spread is to identify people infected. However, testing centres are limited and mostly available in urban areas. Lack of diagnosis or misdiagnosis leads to missed infections that could fuel the spread of the virus.”
“The impact of this innovation is a fast and sensitive point-of-care test for SARS-CoV-2 using molecular technique, the most reliable and not just antibodies/antigen testing.
“Coupled with the RNA extraction, system we can achieve same throughput, with 32 tests in one hour.”
However, Oloriegbe said the claim of NIMR must be confirm by other scientists just as private organisations should be involved in the production of the testing kits since the major role of research institutes is to carry out research and come forth with findings.
“Most importantly is how this research finding will be available to end users. In that regard this committee, with the Ministry of Health and other agencies, will see what it can do to facilitate, making this easier.
“It is the commercialization of their findings that will make this benefitial and that is what is important  for  us as Nigerians”, Oloriegbe said.