Nuclear tests for Covid-19

Nuclear Technology Application in the Fight against COVID-19.

From right to left, Perm. Sec.(OSGF) Mr. Olusegun Adekunle,Ag. Chairman NAEC, Engr. Mukhtar Ali, National Coordinator PTF on COVID-19, Dr. Aliyu Sani and Engr. Awwal Bisallah, IAEA National Liason Assit. for Nigeria

Nuclear Technology Application in Fight Against COVID-19

As we are all aware the outbreak of the respiratory disease caused by the corona virus which was detected in late 2019 called COVID-19 has since spread across the globe in pandemic proportion.

The Nigerian government through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (which has the core mandate of leading in the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies in the country) has taken several measures in checking the spread of the virus. However, the virus continues to spread across the country.

To support the efforts of the Federal Government in this fight, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) which is the focal agency on all matters relating to the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology in the Country made a request a for assistance to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the provision of equipments and capacity development to help in the fight against COVID-19 in terms of identification, testing and control of the virus.

Based on this request, the IAEA has generously provided to Nigeria through NAEC, state of the art test kits in the fight towards the spread of the virus in Nigeria. NAEC has taken delivery of some of the equipment and still awaiting more from the IAEA.

The diagnostic technique used with the equipment called Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction, or RT-PCR is unique to nuclear technology.

Unlike other methods, RT-PCR can detect and identify the coronavirus accurately within hours in humans, as well as animals that may host it. RT-PCR is a method which identifies the genes- expression relating to DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoint, apoptosis induced by ionization radiation. It can also tell us about exposure and transmission paths of the virus.

As earlier stated, the first of several batches of equipment has been delivered by Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19. The equipments were received by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) Mr. Olusegun Adeyemi Adekunle and the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Dr.Aliyu Sani.

Dr. Aliyu thanked the Ag. Chairman of NAEC & IAEA National Liaison Officer for Nigeria, Engr. Mukhtar S. Ali for his efforts towards securing the equipment for Nigeria and expressed appreciation on behalf of the FGN to the IAEA for the gesture.