Serological tests in Africa to assess the extent of Covid-19 on the continent | Africa | DW

While fears of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic remain a reality, the race for a cure continues, as does ramping up testing.
Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria and Morocco are the seven countries that have pledged to launch serological tests from next week, according to the African Center for Control and Prevention CDC-Africa, based in Addis Ababa.

This test carried out by blood sample makes it possible to distinguish the presence or not of antibodies against the coronavirus. In other words, it is about confirming whether or not a person has contracted Covid-19 … even without showing symptoms.

Why a serology test?

Serological tests are taken into account in the Covid-19 management strategy, in particular with regard to epidemiological surveillance. The goal is to have as much information as possible on the number of people who have been infected.

By deciding to conduct serological tests, it is therefore for African countries to have a more precise idea of ​​the extent of the pandemic on the continent. A continent which has recorded more than a million coronavirus infections, more than 24,000 deaths and where 9.4 million screening tests have been carried out so far according to the CDC.

Compared to other continents, if the contamination figures in Africa are relatively low, experts believe that the infection rate would be higher.

It should be noted that there is a debate around the serology test. This kind of test is especially interesting provided that the antibodies are effective in continuing to neutralize the virus in the event that one is exposed to it again.

But for now, studies are still ongoing to see if a person who has been ill in the past is indeed immune and for how long.

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