Medical Laboratory Testing for the detection of SARS COV-2 virus is an essential response strategy to interrupt the transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic by diagnosis and identifying positive cases, which can then be isolated or quarantined to halt transmission. Molecular PT-PCR testing remains the acceptable method of diagnosis till date. Adequate testing capacity in both availability of standard facilities and human capacity is a major challenge in developing countries. Improving this capacity will increase testing output per day. The Communicable and Non-Communicable Interface Research Group (CDs – NCDs Interface) of the Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases and Personalized Healthcare (CGNPH) under the Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology Training program, organised 2 days (July 30 – 31, 2020) capacity development, hands-on workshop for the COVID-19 molecular testing. The 15 participants of this training were meticulously selected to immediately impact COVID-19 testing in Nigeria. This training of trainers (ToT) capacity development training and hand-on workshop in molecular PT-PCR testing of SARS-CoV-2 is partially supported by the NIH-D71 Grant (1D71TW011487) – Planning for Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology Hands-on Training and Capacity Development for Research in Genomics in Nigeria (Dry-Lab and Wet-Lab Summer School). The short and comprehensive curriculum consist of the: 1. Overview and Aetiology of CoVID -19 pandemic. 2. Epidemiology of SARS-CoV in relation to previous corona viruses especially, MERS. 3. Genomics of SARS-CoV- 2 and Genes Explore for Detection and Diagnosis. 4. Overview of Biosafety Cabinet (BSL-3) and General Safety Precautions. 5. Working Principle and Troubleshooting of RT-PCR machine (BioRad CFX96) 6. Developing and Optimizing Protocols (SOP) for qRT-PCR 7. Standardization and use of supporting Instruments (vortex mixer, hot block, etc.) 8. Extraction of RNA from Oral and Nasopharyngeal Samples. 9. Setting up and Running of Reverse Transcriptase PCR (1/2 steps) 10. Results Analysis and Interpretation of Data, including Limitations and Challenges 11. Comparative use of several RT-PCR Multiplex Rapid Test Kits 12. Independent Testing by Participants and Interpretation of Results (August 1, 2020).
The participants with fundamental skill in Diagnostic Sciences, were specifically trained for COVID-19 molecular testing. These resources were subsequently spread across facilities as resource persons to develop capacity and even laboratory managers for SARS CoV-2 testing. This experience also serves as a pilot experiment for our future extensive hand-on capacity development programs.
Applications are invited for Masters and Doctoral candidates across Africa who are interested in further studies in Genomics of NCDs at the Center for Genomics of NCDs and Personalized Healthcare. Please send a copy of your CV at email@example.com for further information.