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1.
Int J Infect Dis ; 117: 356-360, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1729823

ABSTRACT

Detection and epidemiologic characterization of infectious disease outbreaks are key for early identification and response to potential pandemic threats. The rapid global spread of severe SARS-CoV-2 in 2020 highlighted the critical role of diagnostics in understanding the epidemiology of the virus early in the pandemic. As a natural extension of Abbott's work in diagnostics, virus discovery, and virus surveillance, the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition (APDC) was launched in early 2021. The APDC is a global multisector scientific and public health partnership whose primary objective is the early detection and mitigation of infectious disease threats of pandemic potential. As of January 2022, the APDC network has partners on 5 continents including academic institutions, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations. A novel element of the APDC is the capacity for early development and rapid deployment of scalable, quality diagnostics targeting newly identified pathogens of pandemic potential.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Pan Afr Med J ; 40: 183, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1614293

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a major public health problem and has spread rapidly around the globe since its first identification in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Zimbabwe reported its first case on the 20th March 2020, and since then the disease has spread to almost every part of the country. Laboratory testing is important in controlling this pandemic. However, few studies have focused on assessing trends of SARS-CoV-2 laboratory data. We described SARS-CoV-2 data from African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST) Laboratory in Harare, Zimbabwe. METHODS: a retrospective record review of secondary SARS-CoV-2 data from AiBST Laboratory in Harare between May to September 2020 was done. Epi Info TM 7.2.2.6 was used to generate frequencies, proportions and conduct bivariate analysis. RESULTS: a total of 6,535 SARS-CoV-2 laboratory records were analysed. The median age of the patients was 36 years and 55% (3594/6535) were males. There was an increase in average analytical turn-around time (TAT) of SARS-CoV-2 results from May to August 2020. Analytical and preanalytical TAT remained above 2 days from August to September. Males were 1.18 times at risk of being SARS-CoV-2 infected than females (p<0.05). The risk of being SARS-CoV-2 infected increased with age from 1.06 in the 11-20 age group to 1.45 in the 41-50 age group. CONCLUSION: COVID-19 poses a greater threat to the older age groups and to men. The delayed TAT of SARS-CoV-2 results limits the efforts to control the pandemic. Decentralization of testing to provincial and district level would help improve result TAT.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Laboratories , Male , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Zimbabwe/epidemiology
3.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0260261, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528726

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In low- and middle- income countries, they may be particularly impacted by underfunded health systems, lack of personal protective equipment, challenging working conditions and barriers in accessing personal healthcare. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, occupational health screening was implemented at the largest public sector medical centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, during the "first wave" of the country's COVID-19 epidemic. Clients were voluntarily screened for symptoms of COVID-19, and if present, offered a SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid detection assay. In addition, measurement of height, weight, blood pressure and HbA1c, HIV and TB testing, and mental health screening using the Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ-14) were offered. An interviewer-administered questionnaire ascertained client knowledge and experiences related to COVID-19. RESULTS: Between 27th July and 30th October 2020, 951 healthcare workers accessed the service; 210 (22%) were tested for SARS-CoV-2, of whom 12 (5.7%) tested positive. Clients reported high levels of concern about COVID-19 which declined with time, and faced barriers including lack of resources for infection prevention and control. There was a high prevalence of largely undiagnosed non-communicable disease: 61% were overweight or obese, 34% had a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or above, 10% had an HbA1c diagnostic of diabetes, and 7% had an SSQ-14 score consistent with a common mental disorder. Overall 8% were HIV-positive, with 97% previously diagnosed and on treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Cases of SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare workers mirrored the national epidemic curve. Implementation of comprehensive occupational health services during a pandemic was feasible, and uptake was high. Other comorbidities were highly prevalent, which may be risk factors for severe COVID-19 but are also important independent causes of morbidity and mortality. Healthcare workers are critical to combatting COVID-19; it is essential to support their physical and psychological wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Delivery of Health Care/standards , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Occupational Health Services/standards , Occupational Health/standards , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Zimbabwe/epidemiology
4.
Pan Afr Med J ; 39: 255, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1468748

ABSTRACT

In response to COVID-19 pandemic, the Zimbabwe government put in place various rigorous measures to curb the spread of the virus. Although roll-out and access to COVID-19 vaccines in Africa have been slow, the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) consortium and the African vaccine acquisition task team are striving to provide 720 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to achieve 60% coverage in Africa by June, 2022. In line with this, the Zimbabwe vaccination programme commenced on the 26th February 2021 and as of 9th June 2021, approximately, 2.6% of the population have been fully vaccinated in the country. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the economy and caused significant strain on the public health system, much has been done in the country since the first case was recorded (20th March 2020). However, much more needs to be done to finally reach the expected 60% herd immunity by June 2022.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Herd , Pandemics/prevention & control , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Zimbabwe
5.
mSphere ; 5(4)2020 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-684544

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc across the globe; although the number of cases in Africa remains lower than in other regions, it is on a gradual upward trajectory. To date, COVID-19 cases have been reported in 54 out of 55 African countries. However, due to limited severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) real-time reverse transcription-PCR (rRT-PCR) testing capacity and scarcity of testing reagents, it is probable that the total number of cases could far exceed published statistics. In this viewpoint, using Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe as examples of countries that have implemented different testing strategies, we argue that the implementation of sample pooling for rRT-PCR over antibody rapid diagnostic testing could have a greater impact in assessing disease burden. Sample pooling offers huge advantages compared to single test rRT-PCR, as it reduces diagnostic costs, personnel time, burnout, and analytical run times. Africa is already strained in terms of testing resources for COVID-19; hence, cheaper alternative ways need to be implemented to conserve resources, maximize mass testing, and reduce transmission in the wider population.


Subject(s)
Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Immunoassay/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Serologic Tests/methods , Africa , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Developing Countries , Health Care Costs , Humans , Pandemics , Specimen Handling/methods , Time Factors
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