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Delivery of PCR reagents and training for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics in Rwanda (19.2.2020)

Preparation of the PCR Mastermix (Source: RKI)Preparation of the PCR Mastermix (Source: RKI)

In February 2020, ZBS1 and ZIG4 jointly conducted a mission to Rwanda, providing PCR training for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics at the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) in Kigali. 

Since June 2018, IBBS (Federal Information Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens) supports the Ebola Virus Disease preparedness in Rwanda within the framework of the EFFO program (Efficiency by Edification). Based on this existing collaboration, IBBS received a request for support and assistance with the implementation of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics in Rwanda. IBBS served as a liaison between their Rwandan partners at RBC and laboratory experts in ZIG4 and ZBS1. The first step was to organize the delivery of diagnostic kits, which was coordinated by ZIG 4 with the collaboration of the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health (ITMIH) of Charité University Hospital.

At the same time, a practical guidance for the implementation of the respective diagnostic protocols was deemed necessary by the RBC. With this in mind, a jointly conducted training mission was promptly organized between ZIG4 and ZBS1. On February 19th 2020 Veronica Briesemeister (ZIG4) and Eva Krause (ZBS1) travelled to Kigali to offer a hands-on guidance for performing the diagnostics assay.

The ZIG4/ZBS1 team tested the PCR assay in the laboratory of the RBC to ensure that the protocol is working optimally on site. When the tests were successfully completed, a two-day PCR training was conducted for laboratory personnel. This was aimed at supporting the RBC in their efforts to increase their sample processing capacities.

The training was comprised of an initial theoretical section, followed by a practical part, which included basic pipetting training, performing an actual SARS-CoV-2 PCR, analysis of PCR results, and trouble shooting.

Throughout the training, the participants were highly motivated and interested, and a follow-up training was requested by RBC. The established PCR assay enables the RBC to be the first laboratory in Rwanda that offers testing for SARS-CoV-2.

Date: 07.09.2020