NCDC Team visits Molecular Research Laboratory Okofia for Optimisation Exercise for the Commencement of Research Activities and MolecularDiagnosis

This is to inform the University Community that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Accreditation Team of experts from Abuja visited the Molecular Research Laboratory, Nnewi Campus from the 24th to 28th of May, 2022 for the purpose of optimization and accreditation. The Team was led by Mr.Adeleye Adesola.

The visit is a basic step in accrediting the Research Centre to be an approved site for COVID-19 testing, while creating an opportunity for the Research Laboratory to become a centre for detection of other pathogens such as Lassa fever virus, Monkey pox virus etc.

Some of the activities performed by the NCDC Team during the accreditation programme include; validation of the Real-time PCR machine and real time PCR kits; Calibration and Certification of two class II biosafety cabinets; Introduction of a proper unidirectional workflow for all laboratories within the centre; Staff training on biosafety and biosecurity; Proper use of PPEs; Sample Collection; Sample Reception and Processing; Equipment use and maintenance and Inspection of basic facilities within the Centre.

The Molecular Research Laboratory which is the most equipped laboratory in the University is a milestone achievement in the history of the College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus. In line with the Project 200 Policy, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Charles Okechukwu Esimone, FAS, has setup the Research Centre to expedite cutting edge research in the Biomedical Sciences.

At the Centre, research can be conducted in the following areas : Virology including Virus Isolation; Molecular Biology; Immunology including Vaccinology (vaccine antigenicity and immunogenicity assays) and Cancer Research; Parasite Culture for vaccine and drug discoveries; Cell culture; Cytotoxicity Assay and Cell Viability Assay; Environmental including Waste Water Studies and Isolation of Viruses and their genomes from waste water; Toxicology and Biobanking Services. There is also a Diagnostic Laboratory Section for High Tech Routine Analysis.

The Molecular Laboratory is also equipped with high tech pieces of equipment such as Real time PCR machine, Automated Nucleic Acid Extractor, Photo Documentation System, Incubators, Fridge for Waste Water Studies, Biosafety Cabinets, High Speed Cold Centrifuge, ELISA Reader and Washer, Vortexer, Micro Centrifuge, Water Bath, Millipore type I water Purification System, Ice flakes maker, Autoclave, Vaccine Fridge, -20oC Freezer, -80 oC Ultra-low Freezer, Liquid Nitrogen Tank, Heating Blocks and Laminar Flow Cabinets.

To ensure an adequate power supply to the Laboratory the University Management has equipped it with Solar Powered Inverters and a standby generator.

The Molecular Research Laboratory is established by the University Management to serve the University Community especially in promoting cutting edge research among staff and training of Postgraduate students. Researchers within the state and Nigeria Federation are welcome to enjoy a rich research atmosphere.

Present at the accreditation exercise was the Coordinator of the Molecular Research Laboratory, Dr. George Chukwuma who led the Team around the facility; the Provost of the College, Prof Gerald Udigwe ably represented by the Deputy Provost, Prof N.R.Agbokaba; Dr Ejeatuluchukwu Obi and the other staff of the Centre.

The Provost commended the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Charles Okechukwu Esimone, FAS, for setting up the world class Molecular Research Laboratory in Okofia. He further reassured the University Management that the Centre would be put in good use and be effectively managed.

Bright Anyanwu
College Secretary, Nnewi Campus.