Coronavirus: UK to Support Africa CDC Efforts Against Pandemic

  • The fund will be managed by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, which currently coordinates the laboratory and sub-typing workgroup for the new coronavirus.
  • The fund will support direct technical assistance to 55 member states of the African Union.
  • The Africa CDC launched a partnership last week to accelerate the testing to COVID-19

The UK will donate €2.26 million to respond to the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus in Africa, through a donation to the African Union Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC). The amount, allocated to Africa CDC by the Wellcome Foundation and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom, aims to support the response of African countries to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

“Our primary strategy for COVID-19 in Africa is to limit transmission and minimize harm, and this requires an integrated approach involving different partners. This fund will enhance the efforts of Africa CDC in strengthening institutional capacity across Africa to respond effectively to COVID-19 and other disease threats,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.

The fund will be managed by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, which currently coordinates the laboratory and sub-typing workgroup for the new coronavirus. This reference institute has conducted several studies to isolate viral pathogens in Africa, having been the first to isolate the arbovirus, which causes yellow fever.

Amadou Sall, director of the Pasteur Institute of Dakar, stressed the Importance to accelerate efforts to limit the spread of the disease on the continent.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is at a stage in Africa that significant efforts must be made with the leadership of Africa CDC and AFTCOR to limit its spread. In such a context, the scaling up the testing strategy in African countries will play a vital role in flattening the epidemic curve. As the co-chair of the laboratory technical working group, I can say that the Wellcome and DFID funding is not only timely but it’s instrumental in winning the battle against COVID-19,”

Coronaviruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. There are seven known strains of human coronaviruses, including COVID-19.

For his part, Josie Golding, an epidemiologist at the Wellcome Foundation, considered it essential to put research at the center of the response to the pandemic. The fund will support direct technical assistance to 55 member states of the African Union in the areas of specialized training, exchange of data and information, mobilization, and distribution of medical products and equipment needed by countries.

In a scope of the response to the pandemic of coronavirus, the Africa CDC launched a partnership last week to accelerate the testing to COVID-19 (PACT, its acronym in English). The initiative aims to strengthen testing capacity on the continent with a special emphasis on countries with less capacity. The goal is to ensure that at least one million Africans are tested for the disease in the next 10 weeks and 10 million in the next six months.

Globally, the pandemic of COVID-19 has caused about 179,000 deaths and infected more than 2.5 million people in 193 countries and territories. More than 583,000 patients were considered cured. The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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