Nigeria to get test drugs today
Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said yesterday that the Federal Government was set to receive Nano Silver trial drug for the treatment of Ebola Virus.
The drug which is used experimentally for many things, was introduced by a Nigerian scientist. It will get to Lagos this morning, he added.
Nano Silver 10ppm has been shown by the United States Defence Department research to effectively inactivate/neutralise the Ebola virus. It is said to be identical to the silver used in the research.
The Silver solution (Nano Silver) has been shown to deal effectively with Ebola virus. Every disease causing organism against which it has been tested all around the world has been killed (bacteria) or inactivated (virus), the minister said.
Chukwu also announced that Nigeria is in touch with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to have a buy-in on the donated drugs by a Canadian firm.
The minister said: “What is new in their treatment is that a Nigerian scientist has already offered the country one of the experimental drugs, the Nano Silver. And, hopefully today, that will reach the treatment centre. We followed the protocol as governed by the National Health Research ethics codes of this country in using the Nano silver as part of the treatment. We are also in touch with the WHO to see how we can have a buy-in in the experimental drugs that have been donated to WHO. We are still in touch with various centres in the world and, hopefully, more of the experimental drugs would be available and vetted by our own committee on research and control.”
Chukwu stressed that Ebola is restricted to Lagos, refuting the report that the disease had spread to Enugu.
He explained that the Enugu case was that of the woman nurse among those who attended to the late Liberian, Mr. Patrick Sawyer who died of the diseas. She travelled to Enugu against medical advice.
Chukwu noted that at the time she travelled, she did not show any symptom and when she became symptomatic, she went to a health facility and it was at that stage that she was transported back to Lagos in a special ambulance.
He noted that with the stringent measures put in place, 15 of the 21 people placed under surveillance had been cleared. Only six are placed under surveillance.
The minister said: “There is no Ebola Virus Disease in Enugu. As at this morning (yesterday), there is none. All the cases are still confined to Lagos State.”
The minister said as of yesterday, nobody among the primary (direct) contact (with Sawyer) is under surveillance.
Contrary to what family members of the victims said, the minister said more than half of the eight people were responding to treatment and doing very well, showing signs of recovery.
He said: “As at this morning, 169 people are under surveillance in Lagos. The number is going down now as all the 169 are secondary contacts. We have completed the 21 days allowed for primary contacts and we have allowed primary contacts who have not shown any sign to be. And so, all the 169 people in Lagos right now are all secondary contacts.
“In addition, we have six contacts in Enugu. As at yesterday, we were following up on 21 of them, but after the very stringent and rigorous interview, we found out that 15 did not qualify as contacts. Because people who probably stayed far away were claiming to have made contacts. This shows the amount of work that we are putting in.
“So, I repeat, surveillance in Enugu is six while in Lagos 169. The six in Enugu are all secondary contacts. There are no more primary contacts under surveillance. The primary contacts who are sick and been treated are eight, the primary contacts that died were two and, of course, the index case is late.”
The minister added that the husband of the nurse who went to Enugu, though not Ebola positive, as of now, has been quarantined because of their intimate contact.
He downplayed the possibility of her infecting anybody on her way to Enugu, saying “ at that time she was yet to be symptomatic and you can only infect people when you have symptoms. The fact that she went by public transport posed no danger to anybody. It took 10 days before she had the first symptom in Enugu. But on her return journey to Lagos, both of them travelled in special ambulances.”
Enugu State Commissioner for Health Dr. George Eze told reporters yesterday that when the government got wind of the nurse’s presence in Enugu, his ministry mobilised its medical team with the help of a foreign expert sent from Lagos, to return the nurse for continuous isolation .
He confirmed that the nurse arrived in Enugu without symptoms of the virus but the symptoms developed later. “She has since been returned to Lagos together with her newly-married husband, and has since been isolated and being managed in Lagos,” said Eze.
The commissioner said 21 persons in Enugu had been placed under surveillance and not quarantined.
“These 21 people are still in their homes but are under watch by the relevant authorities,” he stressed.
Four hospitals have been designated as quarantine centres in Enugu State and are being equipped.
The hospitals are in Enugu, Nsukka , Ikem and Oji River.
The commissioner added that a mobile diagnosis laboratory, which is at Irua in Edo State, will be moved to Enugu State for proximity of testing for Ebola virus.
He described the type of Ebola virus in Nigeria as the Zaire specie, which is very severe, and advised people to be watchful and report any suspicious sickness as soon as possible.
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