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Coronavirus: Scientist wants FG to conduct research on virus’ adaptability in Nigeria

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A Medical Imaging Scientist, Mr Livinus Abonyi, has urged Federal Government to take proactive step of investigating and conducting research on if Coronavirus was a tropical and endemic disease that could thrive in Nigeria.

Abonyi, also a Lecturer in Medical Radiography Department, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

He said that the government could achieve this through collaboration with the scientists, researchers, stakeholders and all other relevant authorities.

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Abonyi said that the research was expected to reveal whether Coronavirus was a tropical infectious disease that could thrive in hot, humid conditions and environment like Nigeria.

The scientist added that the research would also reveal the right medication for the treatment of the virus and possible preventive measures.

He listed tropical infectious diseases to include: Malaria, Cholera, Chagas disease, Yellow fever and Dengue.

According to him, Coronavirus disease shares the same symptoms with Flu; which is not a tropical disease and cannot thrive in Nigeria’s environmental climatic condition.

Abonyi, therefore, attributed the low spread and poor adaptation of the Coronavirus disease in Nigeria to hot climatic condition, saying it is not suitable for the virus.

He, however, pointed out that this assumption has not been scientifically established.

“Medically, some diseases are associated with climate and may or may not thrive in certain regions.

“Malaria is endemic in many areas of Africa including Nigeria; Flu is not endemic in these areas.

“Since Coronavirus shares the same symptoms with Flu, which is not a tropical disease, cannot thrive in tropical region like Nigeria.

“Similarly, it may be difficult for Coronavirus to thrive in this part of the country due to the hot climatic condition. Though, the assumption has yet to be scientifically established.

“Hence, the urgent need for the government to take a step further into investigations and research of the Coronavirus so that facts about these assumptions may be proven and scientifically established,’’ he said.

Abonyi, also advised that the current medical situation in Nigeria calls for extreme practice of personal hygiene by everyone at all times.

He emphasised the need for strict adherence to the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s stipulated preventive measures against the virus.

“Since it has not been scientifically established that Coronavirus cannot thrive in our environment, everyone should continue to uphold the hygienic practices of regular handwashing with soap and water and other preventive measures.

“Both private and public health facilities should conform with the expected universal precaution when attending to all clients.

“The general public should ensure that any individual that is sick with fever must promptly seek medical attention in recognised health facility or report to the appropriate authorities,’’ Abonyi said.

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