Four more people who had been undergoing treatment for the Ebola Virus Disease were on Monday discharged from the Lagos treatment centre after being certified free.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, made this known in a statement that was issued on Monday after Natural Solutions Foundation, the manufacturers of Nano Silver,claimed that the drug was the only one capable of curing the deadly virus.
Chukwu said in the statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Mr. Dan Nwomeh, that the four discharged persons comprised two male medical doctors, a female nurse and a female patient.
He explained that the three medical personnel participated in the treatment of the Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who was the first person to die of the disease in Nigeria.
The fourth , according to him, was at the First Consultant Hospital, Obalende, Lagos when Sawyer’s case was being managed.
The statement read, “The Minister of Health has announced that four additional confirmed cases of EVD who have been managed successfully and are now disease free have been discharged today(Monday).
“They include two male medical doctors and one female nurse. The three participated in the treatment of the index case(Sawyer) while the fourth person was a female patient at the time the index case was on admission.
“This brings to five, the total number of patients diagnosed with EVD who have now been discharged from hospital.”
Chukwu had on Saturday, announced that a female doctor , who was the first Nigerian to be diagnosed of EVD, had been discharged .
He had also said that Nigeria had recorded 12 cases of EVD, including four deaths. The number of Nigerians under surveillance in Lagos and Enugu, according to him, is 195.
The minister added that the patients under treatment had been moved to the new 40-bed capacity isolation ward provided by the Lagos State Government.
ZMapp not available in large quantity –US
Before the statement was made available to journalists, Chukwu and the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, met in Abuja over the efforts to contain the virus.
Entwistle told journalists after the meeting that ZMapp, a US manufactured drug for Ebola treatment was not available in large quantity.
He howver commended the Federal Government for its efforts to contain the spread of the disease but advised against placing too much emphasis on the procurement of experimental drugs for the virus.
Nigerians, according to him, should support all directives by government on personal hygiene and minimise physical contact with sick people.
The ambassador assured that Washington would continue to cooperate with the Nigeria to contain the spread of the disease.
He said, “On the issue of experimental drugs, we’ll see down the road what is possible. But there are not huge quantities now. And we think the focus now needs to be on exactly what you (Nigerians) are doing, the isolation ward and screening. It is especially important that now your government is doing a very good job on contact tracing.
“I noticed that when I flew into this country on Thursday night, before I left the plane, I filled out a questionnaire. I was very impressed because I even had to put in my seat number which is a very good idea.
“So, if you ever have to trace the guy sitting next to me, you know where I am. So I have been impressed by these things and I encourage the government of Nigeria to keep at it as I know they will.
“I always say we have a broad partnership between our two countries which means we do things together as equals to make the world a better place. I can’t think of a more important example today than our Ebola cooperation.”
Entwistle noted that both countries had been cooperating effectively on the Ebola issue and would have to keep working hard on it.
He said, “It may last for a while but there are some encouraging signs. The Emergency Operation Centre I understand is working well. The isolation ward I understand is working well.
“As part of the broad partnership between our two countries, we have to just keep collaborating and cooperating and keep working hard.”
Entwistle, said he was in the minister’s office to discuss the anti-Ebola cooperation , adding that he was also in a room in Washington when US Vice-President Biden and President Goodluck Jonathan talked about the Ebola crisis.
He said both leaders “pledged total cooperation between your government and my government on this issue.”
Chukwu also spoke on the meeting with the ambassador through a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication.
He said that other experimental drugs were currently being evaluated by the Treatment Research Group for Ebola.
The minister explained that the drugs would be included in the treatment regimen whenever they were cleared .
“As soon as any of the experimental drugs is cleared by the National Health Research Ethics Committee and is made available, we shall include it in the treatment regimen subject to the informed consent of the patient,” Chukwu said.
He recalled that Nano Silver , which was made available to the Federal Government last Thursday was not cleared by the National Health Research Ethics Committee.
The minister said, “Although, the drug had since last Thursday been made available to the Emergency Operations Centre in Lagos, it had not been administered to any patient because we were awaiting clearance by the NHREC.
“I regret to inform you that the drug did not meet the requirements of the National Health Research Ethics code. Accordingly, approval for its use was withheld by the NHREC.”
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, told journalists at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba also on Monday , that the survivors had reunited with their families.
He said, “Out of the eight people in the isolation centre, one was released on Sunday while four were released today(Monday), making it five people that have so far survived the disease. Only three patients are now remaining at the centre.
“So far, 12 people were confirmed infected with Ebola in Nigeria, including the index case and three Nigerians that had died of the disease, leaving eight people at the centre out of which five have been discharged.”
Idris explained that before any Ebola patient could be discharged, he/she must have been symptom-free for three days and tested negative to the disease in line with WHO standard.
He said the four patients discharged were symptom-free for three days and had tested negative to the disease.
Idris ,who added that the discharged people would have to undergo periodic checks at the centre, disclosed that three new suspected Ebola cases had been recorded.
Two of the cases in Lagos, he said, came into contact with Sawyer. The commissioner added that the blood sample of the third person was brought from Kaduna as there was no testing facility in the state.
Nano Silver can cure Ebola, says manufacturer
The NSF, the manufacturer of Nano Silver, had earlier on Monday, said the drug was capable of curing Ebola.
The company’s Managing Director, Dr. Rima Laibow, in a Webcast on Youtube, said the controversial drug had in the past been used in the management of Ebola patients in some African countries.
Laibow, who however did not mention the countries, spoke against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s dismissal of Nano Silver as being unsafe for EVD management.
Chukwu had on Saturday told journalists that the drug was rejected by the NHREC because it failed to meet the safety and ethical requirements.
However, Laibow argued in the webcast that there was no other effective solution against Ebola apart from Nano Siver.
She said,“ Ebola is surging through various parts of Africa and it is just a plane ride from the rest of the world. As of now, it is said that there is no cure or treatment against Ebola and that is not true.
“In fact, there is a well known, well characterised nutrient against the disease and that is Nano Silver. It is non-toxic and it does not require refrigeration. It is inexpensive, self sterilising and it can be given to every member of the community from the tiniest baby to the pregnant mother and the most fragile elderly person that is infected.”
Nano Silver, according to her, “leaves the beneficial bacteria and the healthy cells of the patient unaffected but it does kill every pathogen against which it has been tested worldwide without exception. There is no other effective solution against Ebola apart from this.”
On why the drug has not been approved globally for the management of Ebola, Laibow explained that it needed to go through different stages of trial before it could go public.
She stated that NSF’s team of experts were ready to assist any country interested in using the drug for the management of Ebola and other communicable diseases.
Laibow added, “There are different scientific reasons why we could not just go public with it, but it has been brought forward now.
“It is available in large quantities and it is unlimited in its effectiveness. The Natural Solutions Limited and I, stand ready to assist the people of the world in deploying safe, non-toxic, inexpensive and available solution against Ebola and every other communicable disease which
WHO advises Ebola-hit countries to screen travellers
The World Health Organisation has advised countries affected by Ebola to check people departing at their international airports, seaports and major border crossings and stop those with signs of the virus from traveling.
The United Nations health agency reiterated in a statement on Monday, that the risk of contracting Ebola inside an aircraft was small .
“Affected countries are requested to conduct exit screening of all persons at international airports, seaports and major land crossings, for unexplained febrile illness consistent with potential Ebola infection. Any person with an illness consistent with EVD should not be allowed to travel unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation,” it stressed.
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