By Kemi Akintokun
Lagos – Dr Bamidele Iwalokun, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Lagos, has advised that all monitored cases of COVID-19 should be quarantined beyond 14 days.
Iwalokun, who is the Deputy Director of Research in the department, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.
He said that the confirmation of the second COVID-19 case in the country had shown that the manifestation of symptoms could prolong beyond 14 days.
NAN recalls that the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at a news conference in Benin on Monday, confirmed the second case of COVID-19 in the country.
“The second case of COVID-19 in Nigeria is an attestation to the fact that clinical manifestation may occur in an affected person after 14 days.
“We should not expect manifestation to start within 14 days in all cases; it can be prolonged. So, contacts should be quarantined beyond 14 days.
“All contacts of the index case are potential sources of transmission of the virus. Government needs to strengthen preparedness to respond to secondary cases that may further arise.
“Contact tracing should be followed by isolation for proper monitoring that should go beyond 14 days to curb the spread of the virus,’’ he said.
The deputy director of research said that more screening centres should be set up across the country to reduce logistics challenge of confirming new cases.
He said that airlines should work with the Ministry of Health to further improve the outcome of contact tracing.
Iwalokun, also the Director of NIMR Central Laboratory, noted that the elderly and people with cardiovascular diseases were the most vulnerable due to the severity of COVID-19.
“I will like to provide a science here that the public are not aware of. There is a common receptor on the inner cell of the human body that the virus fights.
“That same receptor which is called angiotensin converting receptor regulates and controls the blood pressure and if affected, will led to cardiovascular diseases.
“That explain why there is a relationship between severity of COVID-19 and having cardiovascular disease,’’ he said.
On whether the virus cannot survive in Nigeria’s weather, Iwalokun said that evidence had shown that the virus could not survive in temperature above 56 degree centigrade.
“There is no evidence that the virus cannot survive in black people but there is evidence that it cannot survive in temperature above 56 degrees.
“There is evidence that it can also be killed by 70 per cent ethanol and that should be the composition of our hand sanitisers,’’ he said.
Iwalokun, who is also the Head of Immunology and Vaccinology Research Group of NIMR, however, advised Nigerians to maintain good hygiene at all times.
Nigeria on Feb. 28 announced its first case of COVID-19, making her the third African country to have confirmed cases of the virus.
The virus was brought into the country by an Italian who entered Nigeria on Feb. 25 from Milan, Italy, for a brief business visit.
The index case was confirmed on Feb. 27, and is presently being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.