The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on Thursday spoke about various test kits said to be in use in Nigeria for the control of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially antibody-based test kits. He was speaking in Abuja during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The minister said all the four kits had been evaluated by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria and that they all failed the validation tests. He said that no antigen test kits had yet been evaluated and “this means that results obtained from these tests are not tenable for diagnostics, being deficient in sensitivity and specificity and are likely to give false results and mislead people.
“The NCDC certified laboratories in Nigeria use WHO recognized PCR testing methods which give reliable result. “Though expensive, this option is right and we have 30 laboratories deployed, with the aim of establishing at least one laboratory in every state.” He said that despite the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, comparing the figures with those of other countries would be a great mistake.
He said that Nigeria currently had a total of 11,166 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 35 states and FCT out of which 3,329 had been treated successfully and discharged, while there were 315 sadly recorded deaths.
“The daily epidemic curve of confirmed cases shows a consistently rising trajectory with a corresponding increase in fatalities, but nothing compared with what is observed in some foreign countries. “To rest on our oars for that reason, would be a serious mistake.
“COVID-19 is real and we have explained that the increase in cases is due to improving testing capacity and of activities of other response pillars, such as surveillance, community mobilization, coordination, contact tracing improved awareness, demographics and other factors,” Ehanire said.
He also said that the Federal Ministry of Health team to Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa, Borno, Katsina and Gombe States would submit their final report on today and that preliminary reports showed that the goals of the intervention were met.