In line with efforts to strengthen diagnostic capacity and surveillance for infectious diseases in Nigeria, the country with support from the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) have built a new biorepository facility at the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL), Lagos.
The Head of Communications at Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Dr. Yahya Disu disclosed this in a statement issued on Saturday, August 13, 2022.
Disu further disclosed that the new facility was commissioned on the 11th of August 2022, at a campus of the NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory in Lagos.
He explained that the project was supported by the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) through their implementing partners, the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen diagnostic capacity and surveillance for infectious diseases in Nigeria.
The NCDC Spokesperson further noted that one of the strategic approaches to achieving the NCDC mandate was the development and maintenance of reference laboratories across the nation to support the accurate and timely detection of infectious diseases.
Correspondingly, he stated that a key component of public health laboratory services was ensuring proper storage of human and animal biological samples such as blood and its by-products (plasma and serum), biofluids (e.g., urine, sputum, etc), genetic material (DNA and RNA) including from pathogens, and the actual pathogens, etc.
To buttress his point, Dr. Disu explained that a biorepository was an essential element for the preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks as it facilitates timely sharing of biological specimens and data and enables facilitates research (including public health research) and development.
He therefore, noted that the newly built biorepository in CPHL would afford researchers that meet the necessary ethical requirements easy access to well-curated biological samples and data. “The samples made available through biorepositories such as this also aid training, confirmation of proficiency, etc”, he noted.
Disu noted further that, “the additional sample storage capacity will contribute to increased understanding of infectious diseases through integrated disease surveillance, and research which will inform public health decision-making, and facilitate the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
“The newly commissioned biorepository in CPHL will serve as a national centralised resource for valuable, high quality and well-annotated samples. It also expands the NCDC’s capacity for biobanking and complements activities at the apex public health laboratory, NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in Abuja which houses the largest biorepository in West Africa.
“Nigeria’s long-standing partnership with the United States through US-CDC and the IHVN has translated into strengthening the capacity for public health laboratory services in Nigeria among other things.
“The quality storage of biospecimens collected for diagnostic and research purposes in both humans and animals is a critical step for facilitating research that will not only enhance our capacity for the timely detection and response to emerging and re-emerging disease outbreaks but also developing therapeutics and vaccines for the country”, said NCDC’s Spokesperson.
In his remarks, the U.S. Consulate, Consul General Will Stevens at the commissioning noted that, “the new facility will support Nigeria’s disease control efforts through the cataloguing and storing of blood samples for future use”.
He expressed optimism that the upgraded biorepository laboratory will support Nigeria’s readiness for future epidemic and pandemic responses.
“The commissioning is a major accomplishment of the strategic partnership between the United States and Nigeria to support health security and respond to disease threats,” Consul General Stevens said.