Testing has become central to the COVID-19 response and fundamental to worldwide health security. Without testing, ‘we will be fighting this blindly’ stated Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC. However, especially in LMICs, access to diagnostics remains the weakest link in the chain of clinical care and response to COVID-19. Accurate and reliable tests became available within one month of the outbreak of COVID-19, but these tests depend on skilled clinicians and expensive laboratory infrastructure. This creates a huge gap between taking the test and the results, often taking several days to come back even in high-income countries.
Africa CDC and FIND have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to drive access to essential diagnostics across Africa. This collaboration aims to build capacity for the development and implementation of high-quality antigen rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for COVID-19 in Africa increasing dramatically testing across the region. According to Dr Catharina Boehme, the CEO of FIND, affordable, accurate antigen RDTs will take the COVID-19 response to the next level.
FIND hopes to facilitate the supply of 500 million tests to LMICs within 12 months, and the Memorandum of Understanding will last between Africa CDC and FIND for a period of 3 years.
The African Sc
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) has been on the front line of the response. ASLM has convened 19 special COVID-19 webinars as part of its Laboratory System Strengthening Community of Practice (LabCoP), reaching out to 12,777 participants from 106 countries around the world. The virtual meetings have gathered healthcare workers, policy makers, scientists, stakeholders and diagnostics manufacturers to exchange and discuss latest developments and best practices relevant to COVID-19 testing on the continent.
Slides, videos, guidance and Question & Answers of these sessions can be accessed here. ASLM also proudly assists Africa CDC in implementing COVID-19 diagnostics in African Union member states, as part of the Joint continental strategy for COVID-19 outbreak and through the mandate of the African Task Force for Coronavirus Response (AFTCOR).
In a new article published in Lancet, ASLM shares the lessons learnt so far from COVID-19 testing in Africa, and we provide recommendations to support the scale-up of COVID-19 testing in medical laboratory networks throughout Africa. Read the article here.
COVID-19 ECHO Sessions
Watch COVID-19 ECHO sessions about diagnostics and testing, download the session presentations, and read the session Q&As. New sessions are added weekly.
COVID-19 Diagnostics Course
Enroll in the free COVID-19 Diagnostics Training MOOC course co-sponsored by ASLM, FIND and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Published Literature and Articles
COVID-19: Are Africa’s diagnostic challenges blunting response effectiveness? - AAS Open Research
Keeping COVID-19 at bay in Africa - The Lancet, Respiratory Medicine
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.
If you have anything to add or suggestions on what would be useful please get in touch: email@example.com
Developed as part of TGHN's COVID-19 Research Implementation Hub, here you will find links to key resources and tools designed to aid COVID-19 diagnosis in all settings.
Enroll in the free COVID-19 Diagnostics Training MOOC course co-sponsored by ASLM, FIND and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.