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Ebola: Panic in Anambra over Corpse from Liberia, Prof Maurice Iwu Claims Cure

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There was palpable tension in Anambra State, Thursday, as the state government raises the alarm over suspected Ebola-infected corpse flown from Liberia to the state through Lagos.

This is coming as a research, led by Professor Maurice Iwu, head, the Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme, a plant, commonly eaten in West Africa, Garcinia kola has been found to halt the deadly Ebola virus in its tracks in laboratory tests.

The corpse was deposited at Apex Mortuary, Nkwelle Ezunaka, Oyi Local Government Area, at the weekend and over 50 persons who had contact with the corpse had been quarantined until epidemiologists from Federal Ministry of Health certifies them free.

Dr Josephat Akabuike, state commissioner for Health, disclosed that the corpse was flown into the state at the weekend, adding that the state had collected all the necessary preventive garments to protect the virus from spreading.

The state government, through the state Ministry of Health, immediately ordered for temporal closure of the hospital until the staff and patients, including the deceased family members, were screened by the epidemiology unit of the Federal Ministry of Health.

Dr Akabuike said that “We had a report that a corpse was brought into the state through Lagos and the deceased was said to be taken from Liberia, where there is a several reported cases of Ebola virus disease.”

The commissioner also informed that the state government had instituted a rapid response team, saddled with the responsibility of responding to emergencies, revealing that the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano,had ordered for the acquisition of 400 personal protective equipment to protect the health workers in the state.

He urged all residents to call the following emergency numbers, 08030890440 or 08030864502 anytime there was a suspected case of Ebola disease in their area.

But Professor Iwu, head, the Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme, a plant, commonly eaten in West Africa, said that Garcinia kola has been found to halt the deadly Ebola virus in its tracks in laboratory tests.

If repeated in humans, this would give the body a chance to fight off the virus.

They used a compound from Garcinia kola, a plant. Compounds from the plant have also proved effective against some strains of flu.

If the anti-Ebola compound proves successful in animal and human trials, it will be the first medicine to successfully treat the virus that causes Ebola haemorrhagic fever, an often-fatal condition.

The discovery was announced at the 16th International Botanical Congress in St Louis in the United States of America in 1999.

The Ebola virus was first documented in 1976 after an outbreak in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where 88 per cent of the 318 human cases died.

More recently, a 1995 outbreak in the same country had a death rate of 81% of the 315 infected.

There are four types of the virus; they include Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan and Ebola-Ivory Coast, which affect humans and Ebola-Reston, which has so far only affected monkeys and chimpanzees.

 “This is a very exciting discovery, the same forest that yields the dreaded Ebola virus could be a source of the cure.” said Professor Iwu.

The virus multiplies rapidly in the human body and quickly overwhelms it, and in advanced cases the patient develops high fever and severe bleeding.

The active compound in the Garcinia kola is what is known as a dimeric flavonoid, which is two flavonoid molecules fused together.

Flavonoids are non-toxic and can be found in orange and lemon rinds as well as the colourings of other plants.

The tests are in the early stages still, but the researchers hope that if they continue to prove successful the compound the US Food and Drug Administration will put it on a fast track, making a drug available to humans within a matter of years.

“The discovery of these important properties in a simple compound; flavonoids, was very surprising,” said Dr Iwu.

“The structure of this compound lends itself to modification, so it provides a template for future work.

“Even if this particular drug does not succeed through the whole drug approval process, we can use it to construct a new drug for this deadly disease,” he added.


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CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,

In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.

 

The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.

 

Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.

 

Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.

 

On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.


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NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

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Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.

NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.

“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.

“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.

He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.

Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.

Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.

According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.

“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.

Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.

 


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NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.

 

The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.

 

A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.

 

This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.

 

Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.

 

Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.

 

They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.

 

Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.

 

According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.

 

However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”

 

The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.

 

Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.

 


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