By Chioma Obinna
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on Tuesday dismissed a social media report said to have been released by the Chief of Russian Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Force, that ‘there are four US-controlled biological laboratories operating in Nigeria’, insisting that Nigeria has no laboratories where monkeypox virus is generated.
In a press statement released by the agency and signed by the Director-General of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, the agency said the statement was not backed by any evidence.
The NCDC statement further reads: “The designation and activities of Nigerian public health laboratories are known to the supervising authorities, most of the laboratories having been procured and set up by the Federal Government in all 36 States and FCT for diagnostic purposes, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases.
“Some other laboratories are dedicated to the very successful HIV control program, managed by the Federal Government and her Partners, based on larger and longstanding bilateral and multilateral cooperation in public health, including prevention, diagnosis, surveillance, and control of diseases.
“As a rule, Nigeria welcomes scientific cooperation with all foreign countries, and has received material support from the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan etc, and also discussed vaccine production with Russia. Collaboration between Nigeria and the United States has provided opportunities for technical assistance, capacity building, provision of equipment and field hospitals at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and funds to support health programmes, like HIV/AIDS, and malaria elimination.”