The University of Witwatersrand is looking for participants for its coronavirus rapid test study in order to determine the accuracy of the test kits with the aim that government can use it for their screening and testing programme.
South Africans who have tested positive for the coronavirus or those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive are urged to take part in the study.
It has been approved by the Wits Human Research Ethics Committee. Head of Immunology at Wits University Professor Elizabeth Mayne says certified as accurate, the rapid test could deliver a result in 10 minutes instead of the 24 hours it currently takes to get a result.
“These rapid tests, a lot of them look for antibodies in people’s blood and they’re quick, takes a matter of minutes to get a result but unfortunately they haven’t always worked equally well across the world. We’ve tried them in a number of different countries, but we’re looking for people whom we know have been exposed to COVID-19, who’ve tested positive so that we can create these panels of material that we can use quickly to evaluate these rapid tests,” says Prof Mayne.
In this video, a company develops test kits for coronavirus
In March, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) put together a group of clinical and health experts to help with research on the coronavirus outbreak.
The university launched a so-called war room where the research is done to help find ways to fight the outbreak.
The Dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health, Professor Musa Moshabela, said that people should be armed with the knowledge to avoid public panic.
“We want to try and see how we could prevent the scourge of the virus from affecting our community. We need to ensure that people have correct information so we can minimize fear, panic, violence and stampedes. Information will help people to know what to do, in terms of breaking the transmission of the infection. There are a whole lot of measures that people can take to prevent transmission. Lastly, it’s about making sure that when people have symptoms, people know what to do,” says Moshabela.
Currently, the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in South Africa stand at 5 951.
In a statement, the department says the number of fatalities from COVID-19 has risen by 13 bringing the total number of deaths to 116. The number of recoveries has risen to 2 382.
The infographic below shows the current COVID-19 stats in South Africa