The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, on Thursday called on African countries to take advantage of science and technology to accelerate development in the continent.
Onu gave the advice at a virtual meeting of African ministers of science, technology and innovation in Abuja.
The meeting was to exchange ideas on best practices on science, technology and innovation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said it was important that the collaboration and cooperation among African countries be sustained in order to surmount the COVID-19 crisis.
Onu also hinted that efforts were being made by Nigeria to provide home-grown solutions to the pandemic.
The minister said the ministry had developed a strategic response in prevention, tracking, testing and treatment (PT3) in the short, medium and long-term to tackling COVID-19.
He said the ministry had done much in the area of education, including the production of specialised equipment for disinfecting public places.
“We have also, in collaboration with Nigerian scientists at the University of Sheffield in the UK, developed an RNA-swift extraction kits.”
Onu described the testing kits as efficient, accurate and affordable and that they were 20 per cent cheaper, compared to those produced in other countries.
He disclosed that Nigeria was collaborating with researchers in the U.S. and preparing necessary protocols to produce local vaccines for COVID-19.
“We have made impressive progress in unlocking the tremendous potential in many medicinal plants in Nigeria.”
According to him, the ministry has assembled a panel of experts from the Nigerian Academy of Science, to verify and examine claims of possible cures and management of the virus.
He called on other African nations to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by also paying more attention to the development of medicines for sexually transmitted infections.
Onu also called for collaboration among African countries to make the fight against the virus a huge success.
He informed his counterparts from other countries that as at Aug. 17, Nigeria had 49,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 36,834 people discharged and 11,674 active cases.
The minister said that 977 people had also lost their lives to the virus.