As part of steps to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Ekiti State, the state government on Monday, commissioned a mobile laboratory to facilitate COVID-19 testing in the state.
The Molecular Laboratory, which is installed at the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ado-Ekiti is in partnership with 54gene, a company set up to provide genomic data for Africa. This comes barely a month after the State unveiled the Ekiti State Covid-19 Response Hub, a Geographic Information System-based application created to manage data on the pandemic in the state.
The COVID-19 mobile laboratory acquired by the State Government is fully equipped with vital testing instruments and biosafety materials including an autoclave, biosafety cabinet, centrifuge, heating blocks, vortexes, pipettes, and PCR machines to support COVID-19 testing.
54gene will also furnish the State with operational support and staffing by providing molecular scientists with the necessary skill set required to handle the instruments in the mobile laboratory.
Speaking at the commissioning, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said with the installation and commissioning of the laboratory, Ekiti State now has testing capacity of up to 400 tests daily and will be conducting tests across all 16 local government areas to facilitate early detection of the coronavirus and ensure timely and adequate treatment of any infected person.
Commenting on the sustainability of the laboratory, Governor Fayemi said the COVID-19 mobile lab will remain in the State even after the pandemic has abated and would be utilized as a fully functional molecular laboratory.
This, according to the Governor, will bolster the State’s molecular testing capabilities and may be used by medical researchers and clinicians within Ekiti State in the event of any future outbreaks
The COVID-19 Mobile Laboratory is pioneered by 54gene, a Health Tech company accredited by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is already testing for COVID-19 in Lagos, Kano and in Ogun States.
The initiative is one of the interventions being facilitated by the Ekiti State COVID-19 Response Resource Mobilization Committee, set up by the Governor, to attract effective support base to respond to the threats posed by the pandemic to citizens of Ekiti State.