Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases caused by viruses have assumed great public health significance globally in the recent past. The last three decades have witnessed the emergence of almost 20 new viral pathogens and approximately another ten have re-emerged. Generally, emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are dominated by zoonoses (approximately 65%), while about 75% of zoonoses arise in wildlife.

Globally zoonotic non wildlife emerging infectious diseases is predicted by human population and their abundance is further enhanced by virus genetic variation, environmental factors, and tropical deforestation. Above all, a complex interplay of factors can influence disease emergence.

Compounding the present scenario is that 60 to 70 % of the emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases have virus(es) as their causative agent, of which 90% of these have no cure and or prophylactic vaccine. Furthermore, approximately 40% of EIDs and re-EIDS are highly infectious, with no cure nor available vaccine. In addition, most infectious viral diseases and the re-emerging one's require complex facilities for thier isolation and identification. Most of such facilities are not existing in virtually all our laboratories in the country, thus making it necessary for samples to be flown out of the country for basically what Nigeria has a skilled manpower to effectively and efficiently carry out.

Of critical concern is that more than 70% of EIDS and re-EIDs cannot be clinically diagnosed without a specialist laboratory. Thus, the laboratory is the central point in any EIDS and re-EIDs. Hence the laboratory is critical in our understanding of the genomic variation and changes in the viruses, critical in surveillance, diagnosis and monitoring of viral disease.

The laboratory we need is a BSL-3 laboratory that has containment facilities for the handling of most deadly viral diseases. With this SIV/HIV, Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (Ebola, Lassa fever), Filoviruses, Flaviviruses (Yellow Fever, Dengue, West Nile) emerging respiratory pathogen diseases etc. can be monitored and isolated, characterized and diagnosed.

This is one of the major critical objectives NSV is set out to achieve.

NSV work plan for 2018-2021 thus include building and equipping a BSL class three laboratory to be located in the University of Calabar, Calabar. Our major task is therefore to raise funds for this project. The project is estimated at two hundred and fifty million naira (N250, 000,000). Approximately $600, 000 (US). Laboratory facilities and equipment, estimated at one hundred and fifty million naira ($405, 000). In other words, we are searching for two hundred and fifty million naira for the first phase of the project. This is a tall dream, but it is achievable. Details of this approved building plan and specifications can be made available to any person or body interested in providing some support.

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