Vaccine Development In Africa

vaccine-bottle-syringeMedical experts and clinical researchers in Africa say the lack of infrastructure and subjects for clinical trials are hampering vaccine and indigenous drug development in the continent.

The President of the Bio Resources Group, Professor Maurice Iwu, told reporters on Monday that reliance on foreign inventions have affected the development of indigenous vaccine for the Ebola Virus.

Professor Iwu, who was a member of the Federal Government Treatment and Research Committee, during the Ebola outbreak last year, was addressing journalists during a press conference in Abuja.

The briefing was held ahead of the 2015 annual clinical trial summit that will hold next week in Lagos State in south-west Nigeria.

The need to develop indigenous drugs for the treatment of diseases in Africa became more prominent after several lives were lost to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease last year.

The disease claimed over 10,000 lives, according to the latest tally released by the World Health Organization in March.

Ode-Irele Ailment Might Be Caused By Alcohol Consumption – Commissioner

dayo adeyanju-on-ode-irele-ailmentThe strange ailment that broke out in Ode-Irele, a town in the southern part of Ondo State might be as a result of the victim’s consumption of  local alcohol.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Dayo Adeyanju, made this disclosure on Sunday, while briefing journalists on the update of the situation.

Dr Adeyanju informed that the preliminary reports of tests carried out, revealed that it is not a viral disease.

“The deaths might have resulted from a methanol poison drank by some of the victims,” he said.

Dr Adeyanju further said that the result of the toxicology test to confirm the statement was still being expected from the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Ondo State Commissioner for Health had earlier told journalists that the state government had deployed a team of health experts to the community to examine the victims and put the spread under control.

It has been reported that the ailment starts with a headache, blindness and eventually leads to death within few hours it attacks its victims.

The Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has disclosed that the symptoms observed bear no resemblance to those associated with the Ebola Virus Disease or any known epidemic disease.

Christmas Is Time To Heal With Love – Obiano

ObianoAnambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, in his special Christmas message to the people of Anambra State, says the 2014 Christmas for Nigerians is a time to heal the country with love.

He observed that in the outgoing year, while the nation reeled from the shock waves of bloodbath caused by terrorists in the North, they suddenly woke to the horrifying nightmare of the Ebola Virus epidemic which ultimately, with love, the country triumphed over.

He noted that victory over the Ebola virus disease is a proof that victory is sure if Nigerians are united in love against any enemy.

Governor Obiano also said that though the optimum was yet to be attained in building bonds of love and unity in Anambra State, he had no doubt that the chances were brighter than before.

He said that with the bold efforts being made on expanded security network in the state, as well as the struggle in strengthening the bonds of brotherhood in the hearts of the people, the bonds of love would be more strengthened in the state.

ECOWAS Summons Emergency Meeting On Ebola

EbolaThe Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has summoned an emergency meeting in Accra, Ghana to find a solution to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) ravaging Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan will join other West African leaders including representatives from the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss ways to assist these countries and effectively help them deal with the virus

The summit would also seek greater international support and collaboration for the containment of the Ebola outbreak.

The President is expected to avail the gathering of the benefit of Nigeria’s successful containment of the deadly EVD after it entered the country in July 2014 through the Liberian-American, Mr. Patrick Sawyer.

Nigeria was the first country certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to have successfully contained the Ebola Virus as it has not reported new cases since August 31.

The declaration was made on October 20, 42 days (twice the incubation period) after the last confirmed case of Ebola Virus Disease was discharged from the isolation ward having tested negative for Ebola virus, an indication that the chains of transmission had been broken.

According to the CDC, Nigeria reported their first case July 20 when Patrick Sawyer traveled from Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria. He exposed 72 other passengers with the virus. Nigerian health officials found everyone who had been in contact with Sawyer and developed a mobilization plan.

They reached more than 26,000 households in this process. Nigeria also established the Ebola Management Center in the process.

Ebola: Reps Call For Compensation For Medical Victims

Human TraffickingThe House of Representatives in Nigeria has urged the Federal and State governments concerned to compensate the families of Dr. Stella Adadevoh and other health workers who died of the Ebola Virus Disease.

In plenary on Tuesday, a lawmaker, Olajumoke Okoya-Thomas, said that the gallant and patriotic role played by late Dr. Adadevoh and her team in curbing the spread of the disease in Nigeria deserved to be rewarded.

The house also observed a moment of silence in their honour and urged that the Nigerian government immortalises the late doctor by naming a medical institution in her honour.

Lawmakers also commended the Federal and State governments for the effective action taken to halt the spread of the disease.

Late Dr. Adadevoh played a major role in ensuring that the index patient,  a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, did not leave the hospital after he tested positive for Ebola virus.

The Nigerian president had dedicated Nigeria’s Ebola-free declaration by the World Health Organization on October 20 to health workers and to Nigerians.

Jonathan Condemns Discrimination Against Nigerians Over Ebola

EbolaThe Nigerian President has expressed displeasure over the discriminatory checks and stigmatisation of Nigerians abroad over the Ebola Virus Disease.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who was speaking when the Foreign Ministers of Germany and France visited him at the Presidential Villa, explained that he expects the situation to change now that the World Health Organisation has certified that the country is Ebola-free.

The President said, “there was never any justifiable basis for the stigmatization of Nigerians since Ebola was rapidly contained in the country and never attained epidemic levels.”

Giving the assurance that Nigeria would remain fully vigilant to prevent the re-entry of the virus, President Jonathan promised the visiting ministers that the country would cooperate fully with other concerned nations to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

The ministers praised Nigeria’s successful containment of the virus and expressed the desire of France, Germany and the European Union to collaborate more with Nigeria in helping other West African countries where the virus still remains active.

Lagos State Attributes Ebola Containment Success To Fear And Preparedness

Jide_IdrisThe Lagos State government has attributed the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease to the ‘fear factor’ and the preparedness of the State in tackling unforeseen epidemic circumstances.

On Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise, on Saturday, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris and the Permanent Secretary with the State’s Health Ministry, Dr Olukayode Oguntimehin, explained how the state was able to address the Ebola Virus Disease that has claimed more than 4,500 lives since outbreak began in March.

They said that the fear that Ebola had no cure and that it killed infected persons within 21 days of infection led to the success recorded in tracing all passengers in the airline that brought the Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, the index case, to Nigeria.

Dr Idris said that the airline and the contacts cooperated with the health ministry because of the fear of the spread of the disease if not contained immediately.

On the area of preparedness, there had got the public talking, with many giving thanks to God that the first case of the Ebola disease was in Lagos. They believe that other states are not as prepared as Lagos to handle such circumstance.

Prepared For Emergency

Dr Idris also confirmed these insinuations, saying that the preparedness of the state was a factor that contributed to the containment of the Ebola Virus.

“The management of the Ebola virus in Nigeria has been attributed to a combination of factors.

“A major factor was fear. It was the first time it is happening in an urban setting.

“Most people do not know that a lot of structures were in place to ensure that the disease could be managed. There was a command and control structure and everybody cooperated and things were done as and when necessary.

“We have over the years prepared for emergency. Six months before Ebola came, we have had series of presentations and conferences and one of them was on an epidemic emergency,” he said.

The Commissioner for Health also pointed out that Lagos State had had “a fair share of emergency and it led to establishment of basic structure” needed in the management of such circumstances.

On how the State government was able to manage the contacts, he said: “It took over a period of days to get their contact addresses and every other things from the airline.

“Pressure from different governments on the airline and fear led to the success that was recorded. The airline gave us the list of the EOC centre.

“I am not too sure of any state that has the level of preparedness that the Lagos State has. The personnel that we have is something that other states do not have. But because of this incident, State governments have put up their own emergency management system to tackle issues of this sort”.

Since the outbreak began, most of the dead are health workers, a development that triggered fear in the minds of many health workers.

Dr Oguntimehin, however, pointed out that health health workers were always endangered in most cases of disease spread, explaining that in the case of Ebola, “as much as the personal protective equipment is good, the real problem is when you remove it”.

Olukayode_Oguntimehin
Dr Olukayode Oguntimehin was the incident manager of the Ebola Virus Disease containment efforts in Lagos State

“Once you get to attend the infected persons you get contaminated and when you want to remove it your hands are contaminated and what you do with your hands later matters.”

He also emphasised that preparation was key to controlling the Ebola Virus.

“All our health workers were taught how to use the items to ensure that they do not get contaminated while attending to the patients or when removing the gears. It is a systematic decontamination while taking off the outfit and it takes about five days to learn how to go in and come out of the isolation centre.

Supportive Treatment For Ebola Patients

They further explained how the patients were managed and treated, saying that the treatment had been supportive treatment based on the symptoms presented by the patients.

Dr Idris said that the age was also a major factor in the recovery of the patients that survived.

“From all the contacts that we had, there were persons that had contact with Ebola patients, who were expected to test positive, but did not test positive.

He recommended that the research process of treating the new cases with the serum from the survived patients that showed positive benefit should be developed.

“We have developed a core group in Lagos State and we want to partner with a group from the US who actually signified interest because of the number of persons that survived here and we are looking at a lot of parameters,” he said, explaining that Ebola survivors had serum that could be used in treating new infections.

“We need to develop the serum to see how it could be used to hinder infection.”

Nigeria has been declared Ebola free by the World health Organization on Monday, but the WHO warned that war had not been won, since they were cases of the virus in other West African countries.

In line with the warning, the Lagos State government officials further stressed the need for state governments to make sure that all structures needed to tackle unforeseen circumstances were in place and the need to share knowledge and experience.

NLC Commends FG for Victory Over Ebola

Issa-AremuThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed delight with the cheering news of Nigeria being declared free of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a statement issued in Kaduna on Monday, Vice President of the Union, Issa Aremu said the Nigeria’s victory against Ebola is a sign of good governance which must be sustained, and also urged the Federal, state and local governments to use the same zeal in the fight against Malaria and other killer diseases that are ravaging the country.

The NLC vice president commended the efforts and measures taken by the Federal and State Governments, particularly the Lagos State government and all stakeholders, to curb the spread of the disease in Nigeria.

“It is a mark of good governance that Nigeria applied a bi-partisan national approach to curb and curtail an epidemic of a disease without a cure and record a globally acclaimed achievement. We must apply same approach to eradicate polio, malaria and cholera”, the Unionist said.

As the country celebrates the feat, Aremu cautioned of any form of complacency by both the government and the citizenry, tasking relevant government agencies to remain on duty to guard against any new infection in Nigeria.

This, he said would be sustained, if government will strengthen the public healthcare system, motivate health workers and continue compulsory screening on the nation’s boarders, airports, seaports and ensure the use of hand sanitizers at all times.

The NLC Vice President further noted that Nigeria’s victory cannot be sustained if the Ebola disease continues to ravage other West African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

He therefore urged the Nigerian government to give necessary support to the neighbouring West African countries being ravaged by the Ebola disease.

Nigeria Adopts Double-Barreled Approach To Further Contain Ebola- Prof Chukwu

Onyebuchi Chukwu on EbolaNigeria’s former Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu on Tuesday said the Federal Government has chosen a double barrel approach to continue the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease despite the declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that Nigeria is Ebola free.

He noted that the government is also not relenting in finding a cure to the virus as the “Treatment Group for the Ebola Virus Disease have been working and collecting various claims from Nigerians, scientists and other alike and are trying to verify them.

“They have selected a number of claims that they think are worth researching into and they are beginning to develop the protocol for research”, he said.

He said Nigeria has joined the rest of the world under the auspices of the World Health Organisation to make its contribution to the fight against the disease on the global stage.

“So it is a double barrel approach; we are trying to do things within the country and we are also trying to collaborate with the international community because that is the only way to go.

“There must be a vaccine if the world is ever to hope that it can be able to combat it any moment and lay it to rest”, insisting that “if we cant get a vaccine, then we should have a specific drug developed that can be effective against the virus”.

He also reiterated the call by the Federal Government on Nigerians not to rest their oars in maintaining preventive measures against the contained Ebola Virus Disease.

“The battle is won but the war is not yet won and we must even now be on alert” he said, adding that “it is great to succeed but it is more difficult to stay on top of that success”.

He urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and urged them to continue to do “all the things we thought you; all the things we agreed we must do- enhanced personal hygiene, enhanced sanitation, alertness at ports of entry, seaports, land crosses, airports- and when people are sick endeavour to go to a proper hospital”, he said, adding that “we must continue to do all this”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had on Monday declared Nigeria free of the deadly Ebola Virus. Nigeria did not recorded a new case of Ebola for 42 days or two incubation period of 21 days.

WHO representative, Rui Gama Vaz, who said it was a “spectacular success story”, added that “Nigeria is now free of Ebola.

“This is a spectacular success story. It shows that Ebola can be contained but we must be clear that we have only won a battle, the war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola”, he said.

The disease gained entry into the country in July when Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, came in on a diplomatic assignment.

The diplomat had fallen ill and was admitted at the First Consultants Hospital, Obalende, in Lagos.

Ogun Govt Calls For Sustained Sensitization On Ebola Virus Disease

AmosunThe Ogun state government has called for an increased and sustained sensitization amongst teachers and pupils  on the Ebola Virus Disease, as pupils in public primary and secondary resume for the 2014/2015 academic session.

This call was made by the state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Segun Odubela while representing Governor Ibikunle Amosun at a one day health workshop  organised by the Ogun state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, (NUT)

The teachers where drawn from public primary and secondary schools in the twenty Local Government Areas of Ogun state, to be a part of the health talk on the Ebola Virus Disease in order to protect themselves and the pupils in their care at their various schools.

Although teachers were taken on what they need to know about the Ebola virus, but the occasion however provided another opportunity for them to make  some demands which they asked the government to as a matter of urgency.

Ebola: Public Schools Resume In Osun State

EbolaPublic Schools across Osun State finally resumed on Monday after the long break due to the Ebola Virus Disease scare.

The holiday was also extended based on the directive of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) Headquarters to ensure that all necessary protective equipment are supplied to the school.

Channels Television correspondent reports that while only few schools were seen using the infrared thermometer to check the status of the pupils, others did not have the thermometer as students were seen going in freely without any check.

Although no wash-hand basin was sighted in any of the schools visited, the principal of one of the secondary schools, who spoke to us off camera, confirmed that the State Government had provided the required protective materials but they would be brought out for appropriate use.

In the meantime, efforts to reach the State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, Saka Adesiyan, was not fruitful as he was said to be out of town.

The students have, however, settled down for serious work in most of the schools ‎to make up for lost weeks.

Four People Close To U.S. Ebola Patient Quarantined In Dallas

healthcare worker dressed. Four people close to the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States were quarantined in a Dallas apartment, where sheets and other items used by the man were sealed in plastic bags, as health officials widened their search for others who had direct or indirect contact with him.

In Liberia, an American freelance television cameraman working for NBC News in Liberia has contracted Ebola, the fifth U.S. citizen known to be infected with the deadly virus that has killed at least 3,300 people in the current outbreak in West Africa.

The 33-year-old man, whose name was not released, will be flown back to the United States for treatment, the network said on Thursday.

Immediately after beginning to feel ill and discovering he was running a slight fever, the cameraman quarantined himself. He then went to a Doctors Without Borders treatment centre and 12 hours later learned he tested positive for Ebola.

The entire NBC crew will fly back to the United States on a private charter plane and will place themselves under quarantine for 21 days, the maximum incubation period for Ebola.

U.S. health officials said they were confident they could prevent the spread of Ebola in the United States after the first case was diagnosed this week on U.S. soil.

Up to 100 people had direct or indirect contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian citizen, and a handful were being monitored, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

None of those thought to have had contact with Duncan were showing symptoms of Ebola, Dallas County officials said at a news conference.

Duncan had helped a pregnant woman who later died of Ebola in Liberia, just days before flying to Texas via Brussels and Washington two weeks ago. Duncan had been staying in an apartment in the northeastern part of the city for about a week before going to a Dallas hospital.

In Liberia, the head of the country’s airport authority, Binyah Kesselly, said the government could prosecute Duncan for denying he had contact with someone who was eventually diagnosed with Ebola.

The government said Duncan failed to declare that he helped neighbor Marthalene Williams after she fell critically ill on Sept. 15. Williams died.

Kesselly said Duncan was asked in a questionnaire whether he had come in contact with any Ebola victim or was showing any symptoms. “To all of these questions, Mr. Duncan answered ‘no,'” Kesselly said.

Ebola can cause fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea and spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood or saliva. Duncan’s case put U.S. health authorities and the public on alert over concern for the potential of the virus to spread from Liberia and two other impoverished West African countries, Guinea and Sierra Leone.