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NCDC activates three more laboratories

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said on Tuesday the centre had activated three additional laboratories.

Ihekweazu, who disclosed this to journalists in Abuja, said the new facilities brought the number of laboratories for COVID-19 testing in Nigeria to 33.

He added that NCDC had stayed on track in its goal of rapidly scaling up laboratory testing for COVID-19 in Nigeria.

The new laboratories are Biorepository and Clinical Virology Laboratory UCH, Ibadan, Oyo; Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Infectious Disease Unit, General Hospital, Ituk Mkpang, Akwa-Ibom and Jigawa State Molecular Laboratory, Dutse.

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He said that NCDC was currently using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method to test for the COVID-19 in the absence of validated alternative methods.

Ihekweazu said: “At the moment, the COVID-19 tests that we report daily are coming from the PCR. They detect the genetic information of the virus and the RNA. That’s only possible if the virus is there and someone is actively infected.

“By detecting viral RNA, the tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on.”

The NCDC chief said the PCR remained the most accurate method to determine who was infected by the virus.

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