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NIMR unveils ‘homegrown’ diagnostic kits for Lassa fever, yellow fever

NIMR unveils ‘homegrown’ diagnostic kits for Lassa fever, yellow fever
September 17
23:36 2021

The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has launched diagnostic kits for detecting Lassa fever and yellow fever.

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The diagnostic kits were launched on Friday, at an unveiling ceremony held in Lagos.

Aside from the diagnostic kits, an e-library/administrative building, toxicology laboratory, and food safety laboratory were also commissioned during the unveiling ceremony.

Speaking at the event, Olorunnimbe Mamora, minister of state for health, commended NIMR for the “groundbreaking achievement” in the treatment of Lassa fever and yellow fever in the country.

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“What we are witnessing here shows a system that is working and the government is proud of the institute, because this giant stride will continue to aid research in the country,” NAN quoted him as saying.

“Early diagnosis is key and extremely critical to prompt treatment of diseases such as yellow fever and Lassa fever that are of public health concern to Nigeria.

“Diagnosis is the most important step in the management of a patient, because you cannot treat what you don’t know.

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“Yellow fever and Lassa fever, over the years, had resulted in many causalities due to late diagnosis, but measures like this will make diagnostic tools readily available around the country.”

In his remarks, Babatunde Salako, NIMR director-general, said the projects were part of the institute’s mandate on improving research efforts.

“Our country continues to experience a regular outbreak of Lassa fever and yellow fever, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in enormous morbidity and mortality among Nigerians,” he said.

“Lack of effective tools for the diagnosis of the diseases in the country has led to misdiagnosis, as in other febrile illnesses such as typhoid and malaria.

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“In order to make case detection easy and timely, our researchers have once again developed homegrown diagnostic kits for both diseases.

“The kits have been validated in-house and also by the centre for zoonosis and human virology of the college of medicine, University of Lagos.

“The yellow fever kit has sensitivity and specificity of 84 percent and 100 percent, respectively, while the Lassa fever kits have sensitivity and specificity of 72 percent and 100 percent, respectively.”

Salako added that the newly-commissioned laboratories would improve the standard of healthcare services.

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