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1.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 29(4): 862-865, 2023 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2248116

ABSTRACT

To assess dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in Greater Accra Region, Ghana, we analyzed SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences from persons in the community and returning from international travel. The Accra Metropolitan District was a major origin of virus spread to other districts and should be a primary focus for interventions against future infectious disease outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Ghana/epidemiology , Biological Evolution , Disease Outbreaks
2.
Front Public Health ; 10: 1035763, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2199508

ABSTRACT

Background: The spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by asymptomatic individuals has been reported since the early stages of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in various parts of the world. However, there are limited data regarding SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic individuals in Ghana. The aim of the study was to use test data of prospective travelers from Ghana as a proxy to estimate the contribution of asymptomatic cases to the spread of COVID-19. Methods: The study analyzed the SARS-CoV-2 PCR test data of clients whose purpose for testing was classified as "Travel" at the COVID-19 walk-in test center of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) from July 2020 to July 2021. These individuals requesting tests for travel generally had no clinical symptoms of COVID-19 at the time of testing. Data were processed and analyzed using Microsoft Excel office 16 and STATA version 16. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data on test and demographic characteristics. Results: Out of 42,997 samples tested at the center within that period, 28,384 (66.0%) were classified as "Travel" tests. Of these, 1,900 (6.7%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The majority (64.8%) of the "Travel" tests were requested by men. The men recorded a SARS-CoV-2 positivity of 6.9% compared to the 6.4% observed among women. Test requests for SARS-CoV-2 were received from all regions of Ghana, with a majority (83.3%) received from the Greater Accra Region. Although the Eastern region recorded the highest SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate of 8.35%, the Greater Accra region contributed 81% to the total number of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases detected within the period of study. Conclusion: Our study found substantial SARS-CoV-2 positivity among asymptomatic individuals who, without the requirement for a negative SARS-CoV-2 result for travel, would have no reason to test. These asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals could have traveled to other countries and unintentionally spread the virus. Our findings call for enhanced tracing and testing of asymptomatic contacts of individuals who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Male , Humans , Female , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Ghana/epidemiology , Prospective Studies
3.
AAS Open Res ; 4: 2, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502782

ABSTRACT

Following the coronavirus outbreaks described as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012, the world has again been challenged by yet another corona virus, named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 infections were first detected in a Chinese Province in December 2019 and then declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. An infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 may result in asymptomatic, uncomplicated or fatal coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Fatal disease has been linked with the uncontrolled "cytokine storm" manifesting with complications mostly in people with underlying cardiovascular and pulmonary disease conditions. The severity of COVID-19 disease and the associated mortality has been disproportionately lower in terms of number of cases and deaths in Africa and also Asia in comparison to Europe and North America. Also, persons of colour residing in Europe and North America have been identified as a highly susceptible population due to a combination of several socioeconomic factors and poor access to quality healthcare. Interestingly, this has not been the case in sub-Saharan Africa where majority of the population are even more deprived of the aforementioned factors. On the contrary, sub-Saharan Africa has recorded the lowest levels of mortality and morbidity associated with the disease, and an overwhelming proportion of infections are asymptomatic. Whilst it can be argued that these lower number of cases in Africa may be due to challenges associated with the diagnosis of the disease such as lack of trained personnel and infrastructure, the number of persons who get infected and develop symptoms is proportionally lower than those who are asymptomatic, including asymptomatic cases that are never diagnosed. This review discusses the most probable reasons for the significantly fewer cases of severe COVID-19 disease and deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.

4.
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
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 , Black People , 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
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