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UVRI accredited among COVID-19 reference laboratories in Africa

Prof Kareebu explains how his lab works. UVRI PHOTO

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) has been accredited by the World Health Organization-WHO as one of the COVID-19 reference laboratories in Africa.

The laboratory which is spearheading COVID-19 testing in the country is one of eight laboratories that were accredited as reference laboratories across the continent.

Other laboratories that were confirmed are from neighboring Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In West Africa, Senegal, Gabon, Nigeria and Ghana had laboratories that were accredited, and South Africa from Southern Africa.

The WHO accreditation comes following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention accreditation that the laboratory was given earlier in the year.

Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu, the executive director of UVRI says the accreditation as a reference laboratory is proof of the quality testing that the laboratory has been carrying out regarding COVID-19.

With the accreditation, neighboring countries with poor testing ability can now send their COVID-19 samples to the laboratory to be tested.

In the past, cases of testing discrepancies had emerged within the East African community bloc. Prof. Kaleebu says that in such cases, the availability of more accredited laboratories will help settle such discrepancies.

“In cases like that, countries can send their samples to us so that we can test them. Some of our main work will include testing complicated samples,” he added.

With the WHO accreditation, the Entebbe based UVRI will be able to accredit more local laboratories to test for COVID-19. At the moment, 11 laboratories across the country are accredited to test for COVID-19. With the number of positive cases increasing, Prof. Kaleebu says the accreditation has come at the right time.



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