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BMJ Open ; 11(12): e056853, 2021 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1583091


INTRODUCTION: The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire world with increasing morbidity and mortality and has resulted in serious economic and social consequences. Assessing the burden of COVID-19 is essential for developing efficient pandemic preparedness and response strategies and for determining the impact of implemented control measures. Population-based seroprevalence surveys are critical to estimate infection rates, monitor the progression of the epidemic and to allow for the identification of persons exposed to the infection who may either have been asymptomatic or were never tested. This is especially important for countries where effective testing and tracking systems could not be established and where non-severe cases or under-reported deaths might have blurred the true burden of COVID-19. Most seroprevalence surveys performed in sub-Saharan Africa have targeted specific high risk or more easily accessible populations such as healthcare workers or blood donors, and household-based estimates are rarely available. Here, we present the study protocol for a SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence estimation in the general population of Burkina Faso, Ghana and Madagascar in 2021. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The SeroCoV study is a household-based cross-sectional prevalence investigation in persons aged 10 years and older living in urban areas in six cities using a two-stage geographical cluster sampling method stratified by age and sex. The presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies will be determined using a sensitive and specific SARS-CoV-2 IgG ELISA. In addition, questionnaires will cover sociodemographic information, episodes of diseases and history of testing and treatment for COVID-like symptoms, travel history and safety measures. We will estimate the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2, taking into account test performance and adjusting for the age and sex of the respective populations. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was received for all participating countries. Results will be disseminated through reports and presentations at the country level as well as peer-reviewed publications and international scientific conferences presentations.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Burkina Faso , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Pandemics , Prevalence , Seroepidemiologic Studies
BMC Med ; 19(1): 160, 2021 07 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301851


BACKGROUND: East Africa is home to 170 million people and prone to frequent outbreaks of viral haemorrhagic fevers and various bacterial diseases. A major challenge is that epidemics mostly happen in remote areas, where infrastructure for Biosecurity Level (BSL) 3/4 laboratory capacity is not available. As samples have to be transported from the outbreak area to the National Public Health Laboratories (NPHL) in the capitals or even flown to international reference centres, diagnosis is significantly delayed and epidemics emerge. MAIN TEXT: The East African Community (EAC), an intergovernmental body of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan, received 10 million € funding from the German Development Bank (KfW) to establish BSL3/4 capacity in the region. Between 2017 and 2020, the EAC in collaboration with the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine (Germany) and the Partner Countries' Ministries of Health and their respective NPHLs, established a regional network of nine mobile BSL3/4 laboratories. These rapidly deployable laboratories allowed the region to reduce sample turn-around-time (from days to an average of 8h) at the centre of the outbreak and rapidly respond to epidemics. In the present article, the approach for implementing such a regional project is outlined and five major aspects (including recommendations) are described: (i) the overall project coordination activities through the EAC Secretariat and the Partner States, (ii) procurement of equipment, (iii) the established laboratory setup and diagnostic panels, (iv) regional training activities and capacity building of various stakeholders and (v) completed and ongoing field missions. The latter includes an EAC/WHO field simulation exercise that was conducted on the border between Tanzania and Kenya in June 2019, the support in molecular diagnosis during the Tanzanian Dengue outbreak in 2019, the participation in the Ugandan National Ebola response activities in Kisoro district along the Uganda/DRC border in Oct/Nov 2019 and the deployments of the laboratories to assist in SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics throughout the region since early 2020. CONCLUSIONS: The established EAC mobile laboratory network allows accurate and timely diagnosis of BSL3/4 pathogens in all East African countries, important for individual patient management and to effectively contain the spread of epidemic-prone diseases.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Community Networks , Dengue/epidemiology , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , Laboratories , Mobile Health Units , Burundi/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Dengue/prevention & control , Epidemics , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/prevention & control , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/therapy , Humans , Kenya/epidemiology , Mobile Health Units/economics , Public Health , Rwanda/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , South Sudan/epidemiology , Tanzania/epidemiology , Uganda/epidemiology