Nigeria in Desperate Search for RNA Extraction Kits as COVID-19 Cases Soar

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Sunday announced that it was ‘desperately’ looking for more RNA extraction kits as its expands COVID-19 testing.

NCDC Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this in a tweet Sunday afternoon.

In the tweet from his official handle @chikwe_I, the NCDC boss gave the specification of the urgently required kits as “Total viral RNA extraction kits (preferably spin column and with a lysis buffer).”

He also listed the manufacturers of such kits, which he said include Qiagen, ThermoFischer, Seegene, Inqaba and LifeRiver among others.

RNA extraction kits are essential for many techniques used in gene expression analysis and enable total RNA extraction from tissues. The kits are used in the automatic testing machines for COVID-19.

The shortage of the RNA extraction kits could hamper efforts to ramp up COVID-19 testing in Nigeria, which has seen a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases despite low number of tests conducted so far.

There are reports of shortage of the RNA extraction kits in many countries, including the United States.

Qiagen, one of the manufacturers listed by the NCDC in the tweet, had last month announced that it was ramping up production in the face of overwhelming global demand.

Nigeria currently has a total of 1182 confirmed cases with 35 deaths. It is however believed that the number of cases may be far higher than this because of slow pace of testing by the NCDC.

See the tweet below:

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