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Coronavirus

Africa Health Officials Look to Rapid Tests

October 22, 2020

GENEVA — Health officials in Africa say the roll-out of new rapid diagnostic tests on the continent could be a “game-changer” in the fight against the coronavirus.

African countries generally have had a drop or a plateau in cases in recent weeks, just as the United States and Europe have had surging case counts.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, says the region has experienced a downward trend to a daily average of less than 4,000 cases in the last month after more than 15,000 cases in July.

Moeti says “preventing an exponential rise is absolutely critical.”

WHO announced last month it and leading partners agreed to a plan to roll out 120 million rapid-diagnostic tests to help lower- and middle-income countries make up ground.

The antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests are aimed to provide better testing access to areas where it’s harder to reach with the PCR tests often used in wealthier nations.

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