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‘Nigeria’s index case was tested at Osun centre in 48 hours’

The Director, African Centre of Excellence in Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Osun State, Professor Christian Happi, has said that the sample of the first index…

The Director, African Centre of Excellence in Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Osun State, Professor Christian Happi, has said that the sample of the first index case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria was tested at the centre, and the result released in 48 hours.

The centre which is located within the Redeemer’s University in Ede, has since been very busy receiving samples and carrying out tests for suspected cases from different parts of the country.

This reporter observed during a visit there that security at the centre was tight and people were not allowed to move near it. The entire premises of the university was empty as staff and students had been mandated to vacate the school.

Prof Happi said, “The machines here had the first sequence of the first coronavirus in Africa, that is the first index case in Nigeria that tested positive. We did the test of Nigeria’s first coronavirus patient here.

“The test was done within 48 hours. The only reason we were able to do it was because we have the skill and the technology. We did it so quickly. We demonstrated to the world that we could do it within 48 hours.”

He said that was important because understanding  the genetic nature of viruses enabled scientists to see what the virus looked like, and how it was transmitted from one person to another. “It also gives us idea if the virus was becoming more infectious and with that, we could develop the right counter measure in terms of new therapies and vaccines,” Prof Happi said.

The Deputy Director of the centre, Professor Anikepe Folarin said, “After confirming the first Nigeria’s index case positive, we reinforced our machines and activated necessary safety measures and we were ready to received samples in tens and twenties.”