Information on the research response in Africa to COVID-19
The WHO designated the COVID-19 (formerly nCov-19) outbreak a global public health emergency in order to support global coordination. In particular, this decision was taken because the greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries less able to respond, and so working collaboratively and sharing information resources, data and know-how will be all the more important, should cases begin to appear across Africa.
Here we attempt to bring together all the information, resources and updates being provided by all the African networks and pan-African organisations who work in health research. The aim is to make it as easy as possible to find the right information, support and guidance, by connecting all the African initiatives together and making all the sources of reliable information and tools both accessible and discoverable. This is located within the wider COVID-19 Hub which also includes links to the updated international tools and resources through the wider network.
The focus of The Global Health Network is to support health research in places and settings where evidence is lacking. In this outbreak, as is the case in emerging new diseases, we have so many unknowns. In Africa there are particularly pressing questions. The need for validated diagnostics tools that can be used in the community is perhaps the most urgent to help keep potential cases isolated. Rapid and mobile diagnostics that can be used outside of major healthcare facilities should help reduce the potential burden on health systems and prevent wider impact by the public not being able to access everyday healthcare due to services being distracted and overwhelmed by an outbreak. Understanding the disease morphology is also important as well as undertaking clinical trials for vaccines if they come into clinical development.
Presently, there has been one confirmed case in Egypt as of February the 14th. The patient is male, 33 years old, of foreign origin and is currently receiving treatment at an isolation centre in Egypt. The Ministry of Health and Population in Egypt reported that the 17 contacts of the patient have tested negative, and all of them are under home isolation for 14 days. In the meanwhile other African countries are running tests for the disease on their points of entry where some still have pending results.
Africa CDC conducted training in Dakar, Senegal, and supplied test kits to 16 African laboratories, including from Egypt. Egypt also received additional test kits from the WHO.
They are also conducting training in Nairobi, Kenya, for 40 participants from nine countries, including Egypt, on enhancing detection and investigation of COVID-19 at points-of-entry. The training is co-facilitated by Africa CDC, WHO, and the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO). Two airlines, Kenya Airways and South African Airlines, are also represented in the training.
This information is currently being pulled together and organised. The links on the right will direct you to the relevant area within these organisations. Below are headings where we aim to collate resources, guidance and information from across these sources so you can find them quickly and easily in one place:
If you have anything to add or suggestions on what would be useful please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Key research organisation contacts:
The following is a list of contacts within African organisations, including the WHO Africa, CDC Africa and EDCTP Centres of Excellence who are preparing to deal with this response. You can find more information also via the partner links listed in the right hand navigation.