The Role of Testing in Infectious Disease Control: A Case of COVID-19 in Africa

Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Jun 30;S1201-9712(20)30525-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.06.089. Online ahead of print.


The dramatic increase in COVID-19 suspected cases in Africa has placed enormous burden on public and private clinical facilities. Till date, the most commonly used method for the identification and confirmation of the virus is the laboratory-based reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing. 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. We present in this mini-review Africa's preparedness and readiness toward testing, why testing is crucial, the need to immediately strengthen existing facilities and what it involves as combined approaches for managing the COVID-19 crisis. The review highlights the urgent need for speedy expansion and distribution of several laboratory testing platforms to public health facilities and fully accredited private clinical laboratories, including real-time PCR and serological assays.

Keywords: Africa; RT-PCR; SARSCoV-2; assay; laboratory; serological; test kits.

Publication types

  • Review