Seven African countries begin Coronavirus antibody testing

Seven African countries will begin administering coronavirus antibody tests next week, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

The development was announced on Thursday as the continent continues to see a surge in infections.

The testing is part of an effort to understand how widespread the infection is on the continent.

“Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco are the first set of countries that committed to it,” Head of Africa CDC John Nkengasong said in a weekly briefing on Thursday.

He said the continent had conducted 9.4 million coronavirus tests so far, closing in on the 10 million target set in collaboration with member states.

Dr Nkengasong said Africa was making good progress for vaccine development.

He said a continental strategy was being developed to set up a consortium of clinical trials and then begin the procurement and financing of vaccines.

The continent has so far recorded 1,084,904 coronavirus cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

South Africa remains to be the worst-hit country in Africa, having registered 568,919 infections and 11,010 deaths.

The figures represent nearly 53 per cent of Africa’s confirmed infections and 45.4 per cent of the fatalities.

Other than South Africa, only Egypt (95,963), Nigeria (47,743) and Ghana (41,725) have reported more than 40,000 COVID-19 cases.

Kenya, on the other hand, Thursday recorded 650 cases out of a sample size of  6,768 bringing total confirmed cases in the country to 28,754.

Out of the new cases, 633 are Kenyans while 17 are foreigners.

391 of them are male while 259 are female, with the youngest being a one-year-old, and oldest is 97 years.

Speaking during a press briefing on COVID-19 daily updates Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi noted that 490 patients had recovered from the virus making the cumulative number of recoveries in the country stand at 15,100.

The total number of fatalities in the country now stands at 460 after four patients succumbed to the virus.

Since the first case of COVID-19 in Africa was confirmed on 14 February 2020, the pandemic has spread to all 55 African Union Member States with an increasingly negative impact on the health and socioeconomic well-being of populations.

According to the Africa CDC and the African Risk Capacity (ARC), the modelling tools for Africa they released last week will help African Union Member States in evaluating the potential magnitude of COVID-19 in their countries and in making decisions on appropriate responses to mitigate risks due to the pandemic.

The modelling tools were developed by experts from ARC with inputs by Africa CDC, WHO AFRO and other partners.

The tools have the capacity to use actual reported cases per time to generate the weekly cumulative number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths for each Member State over a period of three years; and the daily distribution of cases into disease stages at subnational levels over a 300-day period.

Following this launch, Africa CDC and ARC will work closely with the Member States and partners to improve and promote the tools and train key stakeholders to use them with a view to making them more useful for tackling disease threats across the continent in the long-term.

  

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