World Health Organisation commends Kenyan scientists

Monday, April 6th, 2020 00:00 |
Kemri headquarters. Photo/Courtesy

Bernard Gitau @benagitau

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended Kenyan laboratory technologists at Kenya Medical Research Institute for developing local testing kit for Covid-19.

In a statement, WHO said the breakthrough will help in the fight against coronavirus locally. Kenya has been grappling with inadequate testing kits.

“Lab scientists at Kenya Medical Research Institute are making Virus Transport Media for Coronavirus due to the shortage in the commercial market.

WHO salutes your incredible and heroic contribution to the fight against Covid-19,” WHO said.

On Friday last week, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said laboratories in Kenya, especially Kemri were researching on Covid-19.

“To fight coronavirus, our laboratories are involved in serious research to ensure Kenya manufactures its own testing kits locally,“ said Kagwe.

Three days

According to WHO, specimens for virus detection should reach the laboratory as soon as possible after collection.

Specimens for the direct detection of viral antigens or nucleic acids and virus isolation in cell cultures should be taken preferably during the first three days after onset of clinical symptoms.

“Correct handling of specimens during transportation is essential. Specimens that can be delivered promptly to the laboratory can be stored and shipped at 2-8°C,” WHO added.

WHO added that it is important to avoid repeated freezing and thawing of specimens.

According to the Ministry of Health, the country is capable of conducting over 300 cases in 24 hours.

The testing of Covid-19 is conducted in two main laboratories — the National Influenza Centre at the National Public Health Laboratories and Kemri among other centres in the country.

As of yesterday, Kenya had 142 cases with four deaths and four recoveries.

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