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Pathologists call for expanded testing for Covid-19

The College of Nigerian Pathologists has called for the government to decentralise testing for coronavirus in efforts to accelerate the control of the outbreak.

Since the first case emerged in Nigeria, 81 people have been confirmed positive for the virus.

There have been a rush for testing from hundreds of Nigerians, but only five centres offer the service nationwide.

“We do not see any reason why our tertiary health care centres where competent pathologists and medical laboratory scientists are situated, cannot carry out COVID-19 tests,” the CNP said in a statement.

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“We urge the Federal and State governments to deploy a portion of the COVID-19 budget to bridge whatever deficiencies exist in our tertiary diagnostic laboratories.”

The college has also cautioned against advertisement of rapid serological test kits it said were being “touted for the diagnosis of Covid-19.”

“In the first instance, many of these kits are antibody-based and may not be appropriate for accurate diagnosis,” said Philip Olatunji, president of the college.

“Secondly, they are not validated, hence their sensitivity and specificity are unknown. While we caution against using these test kits, we recommend that an in-country evaluation could be done for some that are said to be antigen-based.”

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control recommends the real-time polymerase chain reaction.

NCP calls for a more innovative and quicker diagnostic approach.

“The CNP is also concerned about a possible abuse of Chloroquine arising from its purported usefulness in treating COVID-19 infection. Although some evidence is emerging about its efficacy, we caution against inappropriate use of Chloroquine due to its damaging effect to the eye and interference with the functioning of the heart,” the college said.

“We condemn the hiking of the cost of Chloroquine, face masks, hand gloves, and sanitizer, which are essential for protection and prevention of the population, by unpatriotic vendors and dealers.”

 

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