Zim to undertake Covid-19 research


Sindiso Mhlophe

THE Health ministry in partnership with various stakeholders is set to conduct a local research to determine the infection rate of coronavirus (Covid-19) within the community, the Daily News reports.

This comes as Zimbabwe as at August 26, 2020 had recorded 6 251 cases, including 5 001 recoveries and 179 deaths.

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) director Nicholas Midzi indicated that the survey, which is being done with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO), The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Atlanta, Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) and Higherlife Foundation (HLF), among, others would be done across the country covering a population size of 7 235.

“Methodological wise the project is going to be implemented in all provinces and in all districts. In each district there are areas that have been selected by Zimstat, which is an agency involved in census, and they have the knowledge of the population distribution.

“The selection of the areas has been done randomly and Zimstat has also been able to contact the household list, which is the information that is required by the researchers to be able to conduct the survey,” Midzi said.

“We do have an estimated sample size or study population of 7 235 that will be involved in the survey. We also have included the spectrum of people to be studied. They include children from the age of two to the adults reaching the age of 100. As part of the field data collection, we are going to conduct laboratory tests that are going to be done on spot using Rapid Diagnostic Tests for the diagnosis of SARSCoV2 antibodies that are specific including IGM and IGG.”

He indicated that the 80 000 RDT kits had already been availed by Higherlife Foundation for the survey.

“The RDT tests do not give us a confirmation of the infection status of an individual with SARSCov2, but they indicate the exposure of an individual. When the antibodies are detected in the blood of an individual, it means that the individual has been exposed, for instance IGM it would be immediate exposure and then IGG it’s simply showing us that there has been an exposure which could now be past infection because the antibodies, they are the proteins that are made by our body in response to the presence of foreign particles in our system,” he said.

Midzi added that the research would help determine if there were individuals who were immune to the virus in the country.

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