Plateau state Governor, Simon Lalong visited the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom on Wednesday 15 April 2020 to inspect the recently approved NCDC COVID-19 testing laboratory at the institute, to ascertain its readiness to be used for the testing.
The Acting Director/Chief Executive Officer of NVRI, Dr. Reuben A. Ocholi, the Assistant Director, Infectious and Trans-boundary Animal diseases, Dr. Clement Meseko and the Plateau state Commissioner for Health, Nikom Lar, who were on ground to receive the governor assured the governor of the readiness of the laboratory, the institute as well as well-trained laboratory personnel to commence COVID-19 testing.
Dr Ocholi stated that the laboratory is a well-equipped Biosafety Three laboratory with 4 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines, which gives it the capacity to test 1,000 suspected COVID-19 samples and return the results within 3 hour.
Dr Ocholi further informed the governor that, NVRI has been able to produce hand sanitizers and Viral Transport Medium (VTM) which meets the World Health Organization (WHO) standard. The VTM being a transport medium that sustains viral integrity during transport of suspected COVID-19 samples.
The now COVID-19 testing laboratory was a product of the collaboration between the governments of Canada and Nigeria to combat the outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that occurred in 2006. Afterwards, it was used for Lassa fever and monkey pox diagnosis, said Dr Ocholi.
Governor Lalong therefore expressed his satisfaction over the level of readiness and preparedness of the laboratory for COVID-19 testing as it would definitely reduce the burden of transporting suspected COVID-19 samples from the state and other neighboring states to Abuja for testing. The Governor expressed concern about the under-utilization of NVRI. He promised to address the issue of water and power supply as well as other issues reported by Dr. Ocholi to be the challenges facing the institute.
NVRI is a foremost and pioneer Veterinary Institution in West Africa saddled with the responsibility of producing quality vaccines for livestock industry and offering services for the identification, eradication, and control of economically important diseases. The institute produces viral and bacterial livestock vaccines. LIVESTONEWS.