The longest viability period of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) patient would be 10 days, according to a new study by infectious diseases experts in Singapore.
The Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Singapore study shows that COVID-19 patients are no longer infectious after 11 days of getting sick even though some may still test positive.
“A positive test “does not equate to infectiousness or viable virus,” a joint research paper by Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the Academy of Medicine Singapore said.
The virus “could not be isolated or cultured after day 11 of illness.”
The paper was based on a study of 73 patents in the city-state.
Ihekweazu said that the health agency’s strategy on managing COVID-19 patients was guided by the latest local and international clinical scientific evidence, and the NCDC would evaluate if the latest evidence could be incorporated into its patient clinical management plan.
The DG said in line with this latest findings, the health agency would release a new case management guidelines for COVID-19 to review criteria for admission and discharge of patients.
He noted that the move would assist in managing challenges faced in isolation centres across the country, particularly with the shortage of bed space.
“We are now relooking our practice in terms of discharge criteria, and even who to keep in hospital, and who can stay at home and for how long.
“Right now, the entire case management team which includes our colleagues at the Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC and few clinicians are reviewing our case management guidelines to redefine our approach around admission in terms of who is admitted and duration of admission and when to discharge,” he stated.
Ihekweazu, however, said the new guidelines would be released soonest to assist the country better tackle the virus.
“If we are able to do this successfully, it will have good implications on the duration of time people spend in hospital and when they can be discharged.
“That will enable us bring in people more frequently, it will ease up some of the bed space and help us in some of the practical challenges we have.”
Nigeria currently has a total of 8,344 infections as the centre has scaled up the number of testing laboratories.
The health agency announced the activation of two new laboratories for inclusion in the NCDC Molecular Laboratory Network.
“Afriglobal Medicare Laboratory in Ogun State and the Sahel Centre for Molecular Diagnostics and Research, Katsina State.
“This brings the total number of laboratories with COVID-19 testing capacity to 28 in the country.