Drug Discov Ther. 2020;14(4):153-160. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2020.03067)

Laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 in Africa: availability, challenges and implications

Oladipo EK, Ajayi AF, Odeyemi AN, Akindiya OE, Adebayo ET, Oguntomi AS, Oyewole MP, Jimah EM, Oladipo AA, Ariyo OE, Oladipo BB, Oloke JK


The COVID-19 infection has been a matter of urgency to tackle around the world today, there exist 200 countries around the world and 54 countries in Africa that the COVID-19 infection cases have been confirmed. This situation prompted us to look into the challenges African laboratories are facing in the diagnosis of novel COVID-19 infection. A limited supply of essential laboratory equipment and test kits are some of the challenges faced in combatting the novel virus in Africa. Also, there is inadequate skilled personnel, which might pose a significant danger in case there is a surge in COVID-19 infection cases. The choice of diagnostic method in Africa is limited as there are only two available diagnostic methods being used out of the six methods used globally, thereby reducing the opportunity of supplementary diagnosis, which will further lead to inappropriate diagnosis and affect the accuracy of diagnostic reports. Furthermore, challenges like inadequate power supply, the method used in sample collection, storage and transportation of specimens are also significant as they also pose their respective implication. From the observations, there is an urgent need for more investment into the laboratories for proper, timely, and accurate diagnosis of COVID-19.

KEYWORDS: Africa, challenges, COVID-19, implications, laboratory diagnosis

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