The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, in collaboration with Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and Roche Scientific is, today, 20 February 2020 to 22 February 2020 hosting training workshops for African Member State participants at Roche Diagnostics in Midrand, Gauteng. The training will provide technical training, especially in laboratory identification and confirmation of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 and to:
- Train laboratory experts in the laboratory testing of SARS-CoV-2 using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT PCR);
- Train participants in specimen collection, management and shipment;
- Discuss testing algorithms and confirmation; and
- Discuss biobanking and external quality assessment for SARS-CoV-2 .
The NICD continues to provide testing and support for a number of countries in the African Region and a number of laboratory controls are included with each test to regulate specimen quality, check the correct functioning of the laboratory reagents and to monitor for contamination.
As of 20 February 2020, 106 individuals have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa, of which 55 were persons under investigation (PUI), and all have tested negative. The NICD assures South Africans that the country has not had any confirmed case of COVID-19 to date as all test results were negative. Even so, working with the National Department of Health, the NICD continues to step up COVID-19 control activities and emergency preparedness should a case reach our shores.