NCDC approves private lab for COVID-19 test in Edo 

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has approved Lahor Research Laboratories and Medical Centre, a private medical laboratory in Benin City, Edo, for screening and confirmation of COVID -19.

Managing Director of the centre, Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Thursday.

NAN reports that the approval has brought to two the number of private laboratories accredited by NCDC for screening of contagious diseases in Edo.

Agbonlahor, is a renowned professor of Medical Laboratory Science, blamed inadequate number of molecular laboratories for the high cases recorded in Nigeria in 2020 when COVID-19 broke out.

He said that Nigeria could only boost of two molecular laboratories that could confirm the virus at the time the pandemic began to spread across the country.

The managing director, however, noted that the laboratories had risen to about 140 due to the private sector investment.

“Coincidentally, 23 years ago when I delivered my inaugural lecture, I predicted that there would be a super virus that would shake the world, and that I did not see any laboratory around to confirm this, considering my experience with Lassa fever.

“A classmate of mine died of Lassa fever when it first broke out and we did not know that it was the disease; five out of a family of six died from it.

“So, I advised government then to set up molecular laboratories. Even though government heard, it, however, did not take action.

“So in 2020, when the disease spread to Nigeria, we began to run helter-skelter to establish molecular laboratories. If government had responded that time, we wouldn’t have had that high number,” he said.

The medical researcher, who noted that private investment in the health sector was critical to its development, said that his centre could now screen travellers going in and out of the country.

Besides the COVID-19 screening, Agbonlahor said that his laboratory also runs various screenings as well as paternity and maternity links, with capacity to identify various viruses with different characteristics. (NAN)