Kenya now among the countries which can undertake Coronavirus tests

By Nzioka Justin | Wednesday, Feb 12th 2020 at 11:27
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Kenya, as a country, now boasts of two newly established centres which can help in testing for Coronavirus.

Until Tuesday, Coronavirus suspects' samples were being flown to South Africa for tests.

The new laboratories hosted by National Public Health Laboratories and Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) are set to start conducting the tests with an immediate effect.

This was according to the Tuesday reports by the Health Director-General Mr. Patrick Amoth. "We received the kits on Sunday and will now be able to test for the new coronavirus," stated Mr. Amoth.

Lack of reagent kits in the past made Kenya unable to establish whether the previous suspects had coronavirus or not.

The coronavirus outbreak which originated from Wuhan City in China has already claimed over 1,000 lives so far, with the World Health Organization (WHO) moving to declare it a global emergency.

According to Dr. Kalebi, coronavirus tests required a sophisticated test based on molecules through a test namely Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) identifying the virus in a sample via Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) sequence known as probes, and probably match for the virus.

Having the reagent kits now available, Dr. Kalebi stated that it would take utmost a day, to test for the virus.

Until a week ago, only South Africa and Senegal were able to test for the virus, against the WHO wish that every African state be able to handle the tests.

So far seven suspects in Kenya have undergone the tests and turned out negative, with no new infection cases.

WHO has already engaged and trained technicians locally, in attempts to evade delays triggered by having to send the samples abroad.

"Without vital diagnostic capacities, countries are in darkness as to how far and wide the virus has spread, and who has coronavirus or another disease with similar symptoms," said the WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom on Monday.

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