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1.
Ghana medical journal ; 55(2 Suppl):51-55, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1710874

ABSTRACT

Summary The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is an important subject for global health. Ghana experienced low-moderate transmission of the disease when the first case was detected in March 12, 2020 until the middle of July when the number of cases begun to drop. By August 24, 2020, the country's total number of confirmed cases stood at 43,622, with 263 deaths. By the same time, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) of the University of Ghana, the primary testing centre for COVID-19, had tested 285,501 with 28,878 confirmed cases. Due to database gaps, there were initial challenges with timely reporting and feedback to stakeholders during the peak surveillance period. The gaps resulted from mismatches between samples and their accompanying case investigation forms, samples without case investigation forms and vice versa, huge data entry requirements, and delayed test results. However, a revamp in data management procedures, and systems helped to improve the turnaround time for reporting results to all interested parties and partners. Additionally, inconsistencies such as multiple entries and discrepant patient-sample information were resolved by introducing a barcoding electronic capture system. Here, we describe the main challenges with COVID-19 data management and analysis in the laboratory and recommend measures for improvement. Funding The work was supported by the Government of Ghana.

2.
Ghana medical journal ; 55(2 Suppl):48-50, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1710394

ABSTRACT

Summary Objectives To determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 detection among international travellers to Ghana during mandatory quarantine. Design A retrospective cross-sectional study. Setting Air travellers to Ghana on 21st and 22nd March 2020. Participants On 21st and 22nd March 2020, a total of 1,030 returning international travellers were mandatorily quarantined in 15 different hotels in Accra and tested for SARS-CoV-2. All of these persons were included in the study. Main outcome measure Positivity for SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase chain reaction. Results The initial testing at the beginning of quarantine found 79 (7.7%) individuals to be positive for SARS-CoV-2. In the exit screening after 12 to 13 days of quarantine, it was discovered that 26 of those who tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 in the initial screening subsequently tested positive. Conclusions Ghana likely averted an early community spread of COVID-19 through the proactive approach to quarantine international travellers during the early phase of the pandemic. Funding None

3.
Ghana Med J ; 55(2 Suppl): 51-55, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502653

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is an important subject for global health. Ghana experienced low-moderate transmission of the disease when the first case was detected in March 12, 2020 until the middle of July when the number of cases begun to drop. By August 24, 2020, the country's total number of confirmed cases stood at 43,622, with 263 deaths. By the same time, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) of the University of Ghana, the primary testing centre for COVID-19, had tested 285,501 with 28,878 confirmed cases. Due to database gaps, there were initial challenges with timely reporting and feedback to stakeholders during the peak surveillance period. The gaps resulted from mismatches between samples and their accompanying case investigation forms, samples without case investigation forms and vice versa, huge data entry requirements, and delayed test results. However, a revamp in data management procedures, and systems helped to improve the turnaround time for reporting results to all interested parties and partners. Additionally, inconsistencies such as multiple entries and discrepant patient-sample information were resolved by introducing a barcoding electronic capture system. Here, we describe the main challenges with COVID-19 data management and analysis in the laboratory and recommend measures for improvement. FUNDING: The work was supported by the Government of Ghana.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Data Management , Disease Outbreaks , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , Laboratories , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Ghana Med J ; 55(2 Suppl): 48-50, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502652

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 detection among international travellers to Ghana during mandatory quarantine. DESIGN: A retrospective cross-sectional study. SETTING: Air travellers to Ghana on 21st and 22nd March 2020. PARTICIPANTS: On 21st and 22nd March 2020, a total of 1,030 returning international travellers were mandatorily quarantined in 15 different hotels in Accra and tested for SARS-CoV-2. All of these persons were included in the study. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Positivity for SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: The initial testing at the beginning of quarantine found 79 (7.7%) individuals to be positive for SARS-CoV-2. In the exit screening after 12 to 13 days of quarantine, it was discovered that 26 of those who tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 in the initial screening subsequently tested positive. CONCLUSIONS: Ghana likely averted an early community spread of COVID-19 through the proactive approach to quarantine international travellers during the early phase of the pandemic. FUNDING: None.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Quarantine , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Ghana Med J ; 54(4 Suppl): 107-112, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1436203

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading through Africa and governments are making frantic efforts to control spread, hospitalizations and deaths. While control measures are being taken, research into the biomedical and socio-cultural aspects of the pandemic, relevant to the African population, should not be ignored. It should not be assumed that research performed in Asian, American and European populations will always be applicable to Africa. Rather, research should be done in Africa to answer questions peculiar to the epidemic on the continent and help inform international guidelines. National guidelines for treatment and prevention, patient recoveries and discharge, and public health control measures should be based on research performed in the appropriate context for them to be effective and robust. Urgent research is needed in viral immunology and shedding, treatment and prevention trials, protection of healthcare personnel, and antimicrobial use among others. In this article, we propose ten research questions that when answered in a timely manner by scientists in Africa, will enhance Africa's response to the pandemic. FUNDING: GBK is supported by a fellowship from the European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Fellowship as part of the EDCTP (2) program. The funder had no role in the preparation of this manuscript.


Subject(s)
Biomedical Research , COVID-19/ethnology , Infection Control , Public Health , Africa/epidemiology , Africa/ethnology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Ghana Med J ; 54(4 Suppl): 77-85, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1436198

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 is currently causing a worldwide pandemic. The first cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection were recorded in Ghana on March 12, 2020. Since then, the country has been combatting countrywide community spread. This report describes how the Virology Department, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) is supporting the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to diagnose infections with this virus in Ghana. METHODS: The National Influenza Centre (NIC) in the Virology Department of the NMIMR, adopted real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) assays for the diagnosis of the SARS-CoV-2 in January 2020. Samples from suspected cases and contact tracing across Ghana were received and processed for SARS-CoV-2. Samples were 'pooled' to enable simultaneous batch testing of samples without reduced sensitivity. OUTCOMES: From February 3 to August 21, the NMIMR processed 283 946 (10%) samples. Highest number of cases were reported in June when the GHS embarked on targeted contact tracing which led to an increase in number of samples processed daily, peaking at over 7,000 samples daily. There were several issues to overcome including rapid consumption of reagents and consumables. Testing however continued successfully due to revised procedures, additional equipment and improved pipeline of laboratory supplies. Test results are now provided within 24 to 48 hours of sample submission enabling more effective response and containment. CONCLUSION: Following the identification of the first cases of SARS-CoV-2infection by the NMIMR, the Institute has trained other centres and supported the ramping up of molecular testing capacity in Ghana. This provides a blueprint to enable Ghana to mitigate further epidemics and pandemics. FUNDING: The laboratory work was supported with materials from the Ghana Health Service Ministry of Health, the US Naval Medical Research Unit #3, the World Health Organization, the Jack Ma Foundation and the University of Ghana Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. Other research projects hosted by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research contributed reagents and laboratory consumables. The funders had no role in the preparation of this manuscript.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Infection Control/methods , Population Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , Contact Tracing/methods , Contact Tracing/statistics & numerical data , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , National Health Programs , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
8.
Exp Biol Med (Maywood) ; 246(8): 960-970, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978882

ABSTRACT

The confirmed case fatality rate for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Ghana has dropped from a peak of 2% in March to be consistently below 1% since May 2020. Globally, case fatality rates have been linked to the strains/clades of circulating severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) within a specific country. Here we present 46 whole genomes of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in Ghana, from two separate sequencing batches: 15 isolates from the early epidemic (March 12-April 1 2020) and 31 from later time-points ( 25-27 May 2020). Sequencing was carried out on an Illumina MiSeq system following an amplicon-based enrichment for SARS-CoV-2 cDNA. After genome assembly and quality control processes, phylogenetic analysis showed that the first batch of 15 genomes clustered into five clades: 19A, 19B, 20A, 20B, and 20C, whereas the second batch of 31 genomes clustered to only three clades 19B, 20A, and 20B. The imported cases (6/46) mapped to circulating viruses in their countries of origin, namely, India, Hungary, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. All genomes mapped to the original Wuhan strain with high similarity (99.5-99.8%). All imported strains mapped to the European superclade A, whereas 5/9 locally infected individuals harbored the B4 clade, from the East Asian superclade B. Ghana appears to have 19B and 20B as the two largest circulating clades based on our sequence analyses. In line with global reports, the D614G linked viruses seem to be predominating. Comparison of Ghanaian SARS-CoV-2 genomes with global genomes indicates that Ghanaian strains have not diverged significantly from circulating strains commonly imported into Africa. The low level of diversity in our genomes may indicate lower levels of transmission, even for D614G viruses, which is consistent with the relatively low levels of infection reported in Ghana.


Subject(s)
Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
9.
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine ; 2020.
Article in English | AIM (Africa) | ID: covidwho-860176

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) resulted in 7 145 539 confirmed cases and 408 025 deaths by 03 June 2020.1 Understandably, almost all attention has been on COVID-19, which continues to take lives and stretch healthcare systems around the world. A critical issue receiving much less attention during this pandemic is the effect it could have on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). With no proven therapy for COVID-19, prescribers are more likely to use antibiotics indiscriminately for treatment and prevention of presumed bacterial co-infections. In high-income settings, where bacterial cultures can be done on a timely basis, such antibiotic regimens can be stopped within 48 hours. However, in Africa, unneeded empiric antibiotic regimens are likely to be continued for a longer period of time due to lack of bacterial culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) capabilities. In addition, the widespread use of hand sanitizers and antimicrobial soaps could exacerbate AMR among healthcare workers and the general population. In this article, we discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic could affect the already precarious AMR situation in Africa and discuss ways to minimise the effects on public health.

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