SUNDAY’s massively destructive and deadly explosion in Abule-Ado Lagos, the fourth recently, suggests poor pipeline warnings signs. Are people building too close to the pipeline? From the radius of destruction, it was a gas breach, most likely a combination of deliberate and accidental actions. When will this end?
Coronavirus COVID-19 records deaths around 7,000+, infections, around 190,000+ and growing with a suspicion of additional many thousands of unreported infected patients and many deaths in some countries especially Iran. COVID-19 has shut down communities, companies, corporates, countries and perhaps continents as international air-traffic and large sports and business and even religious gatherings fall under the virus ban.
COVID-19 has erected barriers at borders stretching high into the sky with lockdown against land, sea and air contact with the ‘outside’ world. This is to protect their populations and slow the virus. Religious activities in churches and mosques have been reduced or cancelled. Easter is to be electronic ‘E–Easter’ Stations of the Cross and subsequent ‘E-Resurrection’, six feet distance between ‘no contact’ parishioners, cancelled handshaking and communion in the mouth and prayers in Rome and restrictions in Mecca.
For years the world has delegated its authority and material existence to ‘Cheaper China’ and is now is facing the consequences and cost as almost everything medical, electronic, social and industrial comes from China which specializes in really mass production. Good for the Chinese, nothing against them as they exploited the corporate greed for maximizing profits in the western markets. But when all countries, make use of one country, China, to make everything excluding only the ‘air we breathe’ the world will get into trouble. When China catches a cold, the world freezes, not sneezes. When China catches a deadly virus the world realises that total dependence on a single country for everything is deadly to domestic development. Ports are empty. Worldwide Chinese produced Western and European products are disappearing and drying up in every factory and shelf. This is a huge warning to the world greedy to cut costs of production even if it kills local in-country production and moves everything to ‘Cheaper Chinese’ and its considerable high-tech mass production expertise. Well, ‘Cheaper China’ just got much more expensive worldwide. The world will pay $3+trillion for its thirst for cheap Chinese labour even for making luxury goods.
But there is a massive move of human resistance to the virus, beyond washing hands and other first aid measures and the herculean task of preparing already prepared hospitals for more admissions and emergencies and encouraging corporate citizens to make sanitizers, face masks, and respirators in large numbers. WHO has a ‘Coronavirus Test Kit’. Citizens’ travel is stopped. Every advanced foreign country is announcing huge investments in funding emergency measures either silently or by public activities and pooling its public government and private corporate energy towards developing its own local coronavirus test kits and working towards a local vaccine for their citizens. The USA is offering $50b and tearing down stupid fiercely defended medical work restrictions including one which restricted a doctor or medical professional from practicing in any state outside the one he or she qualified in. Ghana, in a controlled, leadership Presidential speech committed $100m to the ‘2020 Anti-corona Battle’, including for promoting local health related business. But Nigeria is almost at a standstill as many of its industries are paralyses by Nigeria’s serial diseases of a crippled electricity supply and multiple taxation.
However, Nigeria is not quite dead in the water in spite of a political class which has little interest in science and technology. We actually have cutting edge science in Nigeria, usually paid for by World Bank or UN agencies, and it is working hard on the coronavirus using its somewhat better experience and exposure to Lassa and Ebola to upgrade itself. Have you heard of any black African government researching a test kit or funding urgent vaccine research? Yes, at least one of the following great organisations I hope. You probably have heard of the National Centre for Disease Control, the Centre for Human Virology and Genetics, CHVG, the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, the Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology, CHAZVY, Lagos University Teaching Hospital and the Lagos State Ministry of Health Bio-Safety Level 3 Biobank facility. Well, they work with the also highly accomplished African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases ACEGID domiciled since 2013 in Redeemer’s University, Nigeria [RUN]. It is a fortunately nonpolitical health and science targeted product of an agreement of West Africa Countries with funding well spent from the World Bank. We should all be proud of its work in Lassa, Ebola and suspected terrorist chemical attacks on foreign embassies. It is headed by the very, cerebral and committed Professor Christian Happi a passionate trainer and distinguished molecular biologist and ‘native’ of the Cameroons and Harvard Medical School. ACEGID also runs an ACEGID Summer Genomics Bootcamp for serious young and older researchers seeking access to cutting edge molecular laboratory practical training. Google it and him for details. The groups have, through the ACIGID, completed the SAR-COVID-19 genome sequencing – a hugely significant step prompting African scientific and medical recognition. Congratulations to all the scientists involved. Certainly, these teams are jointly candidates for the LNG or Academy of Science Prize for Science 2020.
NB: Washing hands also reduces typhoid.