Nigeria boosts search for coronavirus cure

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The Federal Government has stepped up efforts at finding a cure for the coronavirus with a -N-36 million incentive for scientists.

Government had raised a committee through the Nigeria Academy of Sciences to verify the claims of four scientists who say they have found the cure for Coronavirus and Lassa Fever.

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Minister of science and technology, Doctor Ogbonnaya Onu opines that there are strong indications that Nigeria is about to record a major breakthrough for the cure of the ravaging diseases.

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Doctor Onu said the government is offering thirty-six million naira (N36,000,000) as an incentive to Nigerian scientists to enable them research into the cure for the virus.

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Recently, Professor Maurice Iwu had earlier claimed that he has the cure to Covid-19. Similarly, three other scientists have joined Iwu to take the minister’s challenge as they submit their claims for verification at the Nigerian Academy of Science.

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Dr Onu in a recent chat with newsmen said he is convinced that Nigeria has some of the most intelligent people in the world.

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When we have problems, I don’t want us each time to be looking at other people for the solution. I feel that if the world has a problem if Nigeria has a problem, we should look inward. We should look for Nigerians that can do it.

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“We looked at the budget we have in the ministry. And we say, yet it is an encouragement. It’s like trying to tell our scientists ‘we know you can do this.

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“We can motivate you. And we are very serious about that.

Anybody, any scientist that is able to come up with not just a cure, if you can come with a better way to manage either the Lassa fever or the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we will give you this N36million.

“So far we have received about four now. Four scientists have sent in the information that they have, what they believe can approximate a cure or can lead to a cure,” the minister stated.

As coronavirus otherwise known as Covid-19 is claiming more lives across the globe, many scientists are forced to engage in more research towards finding a cure.

The World Health Organization on March 1 revealed that over 20 vaccines are in development globally, and several therapeutics are in clinical trials all geared towards ousting the Coronavirus.

Disclosing this in his opening remarks at a media briefing on COVID-19, WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said first results on vaccines and therapeutics are expected in a few weeks.

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Meanwhile, the WHO has urged all countries to prepare for caring for patients severely sickened by the deadly new coronavirus by stocking up on ventilators.

The UN health agency stressed in its latest situation report on COVID-19 that “oxygen therapy is a major treatment intervention for patients with severe COVID-19.”

“All countries should work to optimise the availability of pulse oximeters and medical oxygen systems,” it said.

Worldwide, nearly 3,000 people have been killed and more than 88,000 infected across some 60 countries since the virus was first detected late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

But WHO noted that the virus appears to particularly hit those over the age of 60 and people already weakened by other illnesses.

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