A recent report on social media has come to our attention, said to have been released by the Chief of Russian Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Force, containing allegations:
That “there are four US-controlled biological laboratories operating in Nigeria”. That “WHO reports that the Monkeypox (MPX) virus responsible for outbreaks in Europe and elsewhere was imported from Nigeria where the United States of America deployed its biological infrastructure. In order words, MPX virus is generated in these laboratories”.
The statement is not backed by any evidence. 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, malaria elimination.
About the NCDC
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is the country’s national public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies. The Bill for an Act to establish NCDC was signed into law in November 2018, by President Muhammadu Buhari. The mission for the NCDC (2017-2021) is ‘To protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response activities, using a One Health approach, guided by research and led by a skilled workforce’.
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Dr Ifedayo Adetifa
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control