By Dan Ugwu.
When in 1985, a 13-year-old non-Nigerian female sex hawker introduced HIV/AIDS in Lagos Nigeria, the news sent panic, doubt and disbelief to the whole nation as AIDS was perceived as the disease of American homosexuals. The confusion infected Nigerians so well that we didn’t distinguish the HIV virus from the AIDS disease.
The complacency and mystery associated with AIDS made people especially easterners to describe it as “Obiri n’aja Ocha”, indicating lack of cure for the deadly disease which has claimed over 34 million lives before the advent of antiretrovirals. To indicate further its lack of cure, proactive measures were then centered on ‘Prevention is better than Cure’. At that point, it became obvious all hope were lost.
Fast forward to 2019.
Corona virus has come with its confusion. China took off with the virus until it was introduced in Nigeria with the help of a 30-year-old lady on March 13, 2020. Just like HIV/AIDS, it is not clear if Corona is the virus while COVID-19 is the disease.
We already understand that the description COVID-19 is associated with the December 2019 entry of the virus, and the WHO has moved the virus classification from epidemic to pandemic because of its spread. There is dire need to distinguishes the virus from its disease so we don’t entertain much casualties as we had in HIV/AIDS before the arrival of its antiretroviral.
For now, apart from quarantining the suspects the only antidote we have now is precaution. Someone coughed in a taxi in Abuja yesterday, every person alighted from the bus immediately, is that the precaution? Just few days ago, 43-year-old Jennifer Haller, has become the first person in history to test the potential COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trial. We pray the vaccine worths it.
Before Haller’s trial, our own brother, home grown (UNN) Professor Maurice Iwu had presented a plant-based patented treatment for COVID-19 to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. This writer had personally interacted with Mr. Iwu on the said case and he explained that it was important to note that COVID-19 belongs to a class of viruses that are very common, some more serious than others.
The class includes the flu virus, SARS, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). He explained that they are Ribo Nucleic Acid (RNA) viruses, which allow them to mutate easily and spread between species. Iwu insisted that SARS and MERS Coronaviruses are more lethal than COVID-19. After the discourse, it became clear to me that Nigeria is close to COVID-19 cure.
So while the Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and healthcare professionals are actively engaged in providing treatment and support for the management of the Coronavirus infection, it is important to indicate that the Nigerian scientific community are making contributions towards finding a sustainable treatment for the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19 as part of drug discovery programme for neglected tropical diseases, emergent infections and orphan diseases. This may be Nigeria’s scientific breakthrough and curative offer to the embattled and ‘diseased’ continents.
Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”