The role of testing in the fight against COVID-19: Current happenings in Africa and the way forward.

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, 2020, 98, pp. 237-240
Issue Date:
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The dramatic increase in suspected COVID-19 cases in Africa has placed an enormous burden on public and private clinical facilities. To date, the most commonly used method for identifying and confirming the virus is the laboratory-based reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Unfortunately, testing capacities have been limited in many parts of Africa because of inadequate test kits, which have restricted scaling up beyond the few public health laboratories at designated locations. In this mini-review, we present Africa's preparedness and readiness for testing, why testing is crucial, the need to immediately strengthen existing facilities, and what it involves as part of combined approaches for managing the COVID-19 crisis. The review highlights the urgent need for speedy expansion and distribution of several laboratory testing platforms, including real-time PCR and serological assays to both public health facilities and fully accredited private clinical laboratories.
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