U.S Seeks to Conduct and Fund Survey on Extent of COVID-19 Infections in Nigeria

The United States and Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control – NCDC – are to conduct a household survey to determine the extent of coronavirus infections in Nigeria.

People in three states – Gombe, Enugu, and Nasarawa – will be asked to voluntarily volunteer in the research which will include antibody blood tests to find out who has had the virus.

The exercise aims to help health professionals understand the transmission patterns and to find out how many people with the virus are asymptomatic.

The survey is supported by the United States, through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S is the sole sponsor of this survey, estimated at $2.1m. It will provide technical assistance as well.

The survey will increase the current understanding of COVID-19 transmission and burden in these three states and inform COVID-19 response efforts of the Government of Nigeria and its partners.

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A statement on the US Nigeria embassy website, discloses that, “the survey will estimate the proportion of the population in these states who have ever been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 disease. This will be done by measuring the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the blood of volunteers. These antibodies, specialized proteins produced by the immune system to fight infections, are generated as part of the body’s response to COVID-19 and are an indication of previous infections.

“The survey will also endeavour to estimate the proportion of people who have the disease but are not showing any symptoms, determine risk factors for infection, and measure the intra-household transmission of COVID-19. The survey will also estimate the prevalence of malaria and its potential relationship to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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“All members of selected households will be offered the opportunity to participate in the survey. If they agree, participants will answer a brief questionnaire, have their blood drawn and tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, and receive a nasal and oropharyngeal swab to test for acute COVID-19. They will also have a rapid malaria test and receive malaria treatment if the test is positive.

The tests will be carried out at the National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja.

“The U.S. CDC is working with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), one of its implementing partners in Nigeria, to provide technical assistance and oversee field implementation of the survey. The survey will be conducted between September and November with preliminary results expected to be released in December 2020.”

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