Coronavirus test kits to be made available in Kenya

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Kenya will this week receive corona virus diagnostic kits and reagents from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As it stands Kenya can only make preliminary tests of the virus with the country’s health department having to send the samples to Johannesburg, South Africa, for confirmation.

“Since this is a new virus, there are currently only two referral laboratories in the African region which have reagents needed to conduct the corona virus test check. However, reagent kits are being shipped to more countries in the region, so diagnostic capacity is expected to increase over the coming days,” Dr. Matshidosi Moeti WHO’s Regional Director for Africa said in a statement.

According to a new modelling study produced by Northeastern University in the US, continentally, Kenya has the sixth-highest risk of receiving a case of the new Coronavirus imported from China. Kenya has a risk of 0.07 per cent which is the highest in East Africa. The test kits and reagents from WHO, once delivered successfully, will greatly aid the country in identifying and mitigating any cases of the pandemic that may occur in the country moving forward.

The first case of the Coronavirus was confirmed in the Wuhan region of China on January 7, 2020. The new virus was temporarily named Novel coronavirus-2019 (2019-nCoV). Prior to identifying the new virus, the World Health Organization was alerted on December 31, 2019 to multiple pneumonia cases in China’s Wuhan city. At the time, the virus did not have any similarities with other known viruses, which raised concerns.

The signs and symptoms of the virus, according to WHO, include fever, difficulty in breathing and chest radiographs showing bilateral lung infiltrates. In more severe cases, the virus can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. The incubation period of the Coronavirus still remains unknown.

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