American trained Professor of Immunology and Microbiology, Joseph Igietseme, said claims that a cure for the coronavirus has been found in Africa is unfounded.
The Georgetown University trained Professor while speaking on a virtual conference organised by ElombahNews on Friday, July 31, 2020, said long time research is going to be difficult in Nigeria amidst an infrastructure deficit in the country.
Igietseme, an expert in Disease Control and Prevention with CDC, in USA, carpeted coronavirus research embarked upon by the Universities in Nigeria saying there is no infrastructure to support basic research in Nigeria.
He said there is no future for Coronavirus Research and Development in Nigeria without stable power and water supply in the country.
ElombahNews has reported that former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said his team had discovered a cure for the deadly coronavirus.
Iwu, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria, stated this when he led his team of researchers to brief the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu and his Health counterpart, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in Abuja.
But Igietseme explained that anyone claiming to have discovered a cure for coronavirus should be asked to submit his findings for verification by internationally acclaimed experts.
He stated the launch of Covid-Organics (CVO for short) in Madagascar in April last month was no different, where today covid-19 cases has spiked.
Saying that basic research is where people get Nobel Prizes, Igietseme added that it is going to take a long time to put necessary infrastructure in place that can support Research and Development in Nigeria.
In the Elombah TV interview with the topic: The COVID-19 Pandemic, what do we know so far, Professor Joseph Igietseme, Doctor of Immunology & Microbiology, Georgetown University, spoke on key issues as: – The virus & origin, Pathogenesis of COVID-19, Known control & prevention measures, Status of vaccines & therapeutics, Science, conspiracy theories & cure claims, and future outlooks.
The Professor who was originally from Agenebode, Edo State said hopes for a working coronavirus vaccine are growing after doses being developed by Oxford University and other institutions triggered an immune system response during tests.
Igietseme said, “if you look at our (Nigeria) University, they will just use one diagnostic test to know how many are positive and negative (for covid-19).
“To go into basic research – that is where people get Nobel Prizes so that you can find something new, we don’t have the infrastructure to support it and so it is going to be tough. You just put yourself at the mercy of importations.
On whether he and other Nigerian scientists based abroad are willing to collaborate with the local counterparts, Igietseme said “It is going to take a long time to put infrastructure in place that can support Research and Development. If people are serious, the Nigeria government can tell people, look we will fund your research if you can get a collaboration that you can work with on this project.
“Actually sometime last year from University of Lagos, a Professor sent a student with samples to our medical school in the US.”
“The samples were supposed to have anti-cancer activity, he sent them to analyse them here and to interpret them here.
“She hardly has the support that the University could give then. The Chinese do it very well; Chinese will fund their students to train and give them money for them to come to your Lab and what you need to supervise them.
“I don’t know whether Nigeria will be serious with that, before you know confusion will enter the place, somebody will say they want to use us, and suddenly it will fizzle away.
“I believe some professors are doing it privately. People take products out to analyse it. imagine having your own setting. How many things can you take out and bring them back. It is going to be tough. It is never too late to build Research and Development enterprise.
“People just have to be serious. You can target five universities and invest in Research and Development.
“If you take ten universities today, provide light and water in the next 20 years, then Nigeria will be in the next level.”
Speaking on Coronavirus, Igietseme said the virus can be contracted through inhalation of the virus in the droplets that are released during sneezing and coughing by infected persons. Also the virus can be picked up from surfaces and we get infected when we put our hands on our nostrils and mouth.
He said, “it is a profoundly serious disease. it is real and we should not joke with it, sneezing and coughing are avenues through which the virus can be released. The virus passes through your breathing canal and affect your lung cell.
“As at now in terms of treating or vaccinating against the virus, there is no one thing, you can say now, when we have this, you use it to prevent infection.
“If you are vaccinated, once the virus comes, it quickly traps it and neutralizes it. it will no longer affect or destroy your cell that is what vaccine does.
“Anti-viral is another you can control it; it is a drug. The one that is effective, it is called remdesivir. It prevents the virus from replicating.”
On the connection of COVID-19 with 5G, the professor said Coronavirus has no connection with 5G adding that there is no scientific basis for that.
He said, “There was a video, when I watched it, I was just shaking my head, the man was mentioning few scientific words. It is not true.”
On the opening of schools, he said,” let’s establish that both the young and the old can be infected with Coronavirus. There is no different Coronavirus for adult but, in term of severity, it appears that older people are much more affected by the disease.”
He advised the federal government to deploy frequent testing in schools to curtail the Coronavirus.
Speaking on the number of deaths in Africa compared to the Western world, he said, “600,000 died all over the world, it is a tough one. In Nigeria, we are heading toward 1000 death out of 44,000 infected.
“One big issue I see about Nigeria is that we need to test more.
“There are many theories on why the death rate in Africa is low, some people believe it is the weather condition, some people believe in genetics. Some say it is likely to underline that frequent treatment of Malaria may be the reason for the low death rate that we have in Africa.”
Professor Igietseme is also a Chief of Molecular Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Center for Infectious Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, USA and expert on T cell immunity, immunoregulation & immunopathogenesis.
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