Officials in Plateau State say a “Bio-Safety Level 3 Grade 1 Laboratory” at the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) Vom, has been equipped and certified by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to begin “outright” test for COVID-19.
The centre, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong says has capacity to test over one thousand samples per day.
“This will assist us test more people and serve other neigbouring States,” said Lalong.
The Governor also announced the State’s first major breakthrough in the local production of ventilators.
“Our homegrown innovator, Engr. Jerry Mallo, who was earlier mandated to fabricate ventilators, has come up with a product, which is being tested by health experts for possible deployment as the need arises,” Mr. Lalong said in a State broadcast.
Nigeria presently needs at least 100 ventilators for a start, to guarantee success against Coronavirus, Officials say.
However, as the coronavirus pandemic rages, ventilator makers around the world have reported overseas orders surging beyond their supply capacity.
“Several orders from Nigeria have not been delivered due to high demand,” says a federal hospital administrator, Dr. Edmund Banwat.
To remedy the situation, Jerry Mallo, 25, in late March 2020, proposed to Officials in Plateau State, to build and supply ventilators at a cost nearly 95% lower than the original market price.
The State approved the proposal but released funds for the production of one sample machine.
At the time, two local engineers from the State revived three broken ventilators in the State’s only federal hospital, JUTH.
Mallo however kept his innovation secret until Monday 13th April 2020 when he confirmed exclusively to MK that he was mobilized for the project.
“About the ventilator, I was given the money. We will soon be concluding work,” he said in a social media chat.
On Wednesday April 15, 2020, the State Governor, Simon Lalong announced the completion of the project.
Mallo’s ventilator if accepted would be the first in Africa and one of the few in the world.
The local highschool graduate started technological explorations came to limelight in 2016 when he produced the continent’s first locally made tractor.
In September 2019, he unveiled the first Nigerian luxury Sports Car which he named Purrie, a local name for horse in Central Nigerian Ron tribe.
Mallo’s company, Bennie Agro Nigeria ltd has manufactured several agro-related machines including rice processing plants, Irish potato processing machine, and most recently, foot-press hand washbasin.