The Bayero University Kano (BUK), says it has concluded arrangements for the newly established coronavirus (COVID-19) Molecular Laboratory to begin operation on Friday, May 1.
The Director, Centre for Infectious Diseases and Research of the university, Prof. Isa Abubakar, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Kano.
Abubakar disclosed that the centre had begun test running on Tuesday preparatory to the commencement of full clinical operation on Friday.
He said that the idea to set up the centre came up even before the reported index case of the disease in the state, adding that the project could not be completed due to some constraints.
The director added that the centre was designed with 180 daily samples test capacity, noting that the operational capacity of the centre was three folds higher the than state’s owned coronavirus diagnostic centres.
“Adequate measures have been put in place to handle large number of samples.
“Installation of equipment needed to handle samples of COVID-19 is 98 per cent completed as at Monday, while test running of installed equipment commences Tuesday, to ensure all is in perfect condition before Friday,” he said.
Abubakar explained that scientists from within and outside the university community agreed to work together in helping the country and work on a new diagnostic method to the disease.
He noted that the centre when fully functional would also embark on study for development of a vaccine as well as enhance awareness creation of the people through research findings.
According to him, the university has the manpower and necessary resources to venture into the development of a vaccine for the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that it will come very soon.
“The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Yahuza Bello, approved a huge sum of N50 million to set up the modern laboratory, with all needed equipment.
“It is also agreed that the centre will be the headquarters where samples from Kano State and neighbouring states will be handled,” the director said.
NAN reports that the BUK COVID-19 laboratory was designed to complement the only test centre in the state-run by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.
The NCDC centre has been shut down in the past week in spite of the increasing number of coronavirus infections recorded in the state.
Kano State has recorded 77 confirmed cases and three COVID-19 deaths as at April 27. (NAN)