The United States Government has said there are no ‘US-controlled laboratories’ on monkeypox in Nigeria.
This is contained in a statement by Mr Temitayo Famutimi, Information Specialist, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Consulate General, in Lagos.
The statement added that such reports were pure fabrication and misleading.
There had been series of social media posts speculating that the origin of the current global outbreak of monkeypox disease emanated from US-controlled laboratories in Nigeria.
The speculators, who alleged that the biolabs were operating in the Nigerian cities of Abuja, Zaria and Lagos, called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to investigate the allegation against the US government.
“There is zero merit to any allegations regarding the use of US-assisted Nigerian laboratories in the spread of monkeypox.
“Furthermore, there are no ‘US-controlled’ laboratories in Nigeria,” it said.
It noted that falsehoods detract from the work that the US in close coordination with Nigerian and multilateral partners, accomplish together on public health, including in disease surveillance, diagnosis, prevention and control.
It also stated that the collaborative work between Nigeria and the US had provided opportunities for technical assistance in capacity building, equipment, consumables and funding to critical public health programmes, hospitals and laboratories.
“All of this contributes greatly to the prevention and amelioration of global disease outbreaks,” it said.
The statement noted that monkeypox was not a new disease and not peculiar to Nigeria, having first been diagnosed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.
“As we work together to contain its spread, exported cases have been reported in the United Kingdom, United States, and other parts of the world.
“The United States Government continues to lend its support and work closely with the government of Nigeria in responding to the outbreak.
“Through our collaborative interventions, US government agencies working in Nigeria (including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Program) and their implementing partners have supported both national and state laboratories with technical assistance and funding.
“These laboratories are Nigerian, and US support enables them to provide essential services for the public good and the health of Nigeria’s citizens.
“Especially important, our support to laboratories across the country extends to quality improvements that ensure they have appropriate levels of biosafety and biosecurity requirements in place,” it stated.
The US government pledged to continue to collaborate with the Nigerian government in the ongoing global monkeypox and COVID-19 outbreaks.
It said it would intensify support to Nigeria in other areas of partnership such as HIV epidemic control, tuberculosis eradication, malaria elimination, prevention of vaccine-preventable disease and enhancing food and nutrition. (NAN)