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Scaled testing for COVID-19 needs community involvement

Adams, Emily ORCID:, Wolday, Dawit, Denkinger, Claudia M, Krishna, Sanjeev and de Wit, Tobias F Rinke (2021) 'Scaled testing for COVID-19 needs community involvement'. Journal of Global Health, Vol 2021, Issue 11, 03033.

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With limited vaccine coverage and in the absence of specific therapeutics, the options to curb the COVID-19 pandemic today are mostly infection prevention measures and diagnostic tests to identify infected individuals rapidly, followed by isolation and contact tracing. The past months have seen significant worldwide scale-up of testing through quantitative PCR (qPCR) detecting nucleic acid of SARS-CoV-2. However, with the current resurgence of cases in Europe and elsewhere, qPCR demand far exceeds capacity. Moreover, qPCR is expensive, requires sophisticated laboratories, well-trained staff, and extensive logistics. Capacity deficits are aggravated in LMICs (Lower and Middle-Income Countries) with rampant shortages of tests kits, qualified staff, and laboratories, compromising clinical utility. Africa CDC reports 23 countries with proxy PCR coverage of <5000 tests/million population [1]. Alternative novel molecular diagnostics such as LAMP, DNAnudge and LAMPore remain widely unscalable. Moreover, even qPCR has its limitations in detecting non-infectious traces of viral RNA [2] and false negativity issues [3]. We conclude that molecular testing for COVID-19 is unfit for reaching scale at the community level.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 105 Epidemiology
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WA Public Health > WA 20.5 Research (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Viral Respiratory Tract Infections. Respirovirus Infections > WC 505 Viral respiratory tract infections
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Cathy Waldron
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2021 15:21
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 15:21


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