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COVID-19: NCDC activates 3 more laboratories

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it has activated three additional laboratories, bringing the total number that can carry out PCR testing for Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Nigeria to 33.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of NCDC, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the health agency had stayed on track in its goal to rapidly scale up laboratory testing for COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Ihekweazu mentioned the three new laboratories as: 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.

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

“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,” he explained.

The director-general said that PCR remained the most accurate method to determine who was infected.

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