Sandra Orta, Corporate General Manager & Head of the Roche Management Center sub-Saharan Africa explains: “For over a decade, our Management Center based in Gauteng, South Africa has provided resources and investment towards skills development and capacity building within the Healthcare and Laboratory sectors within sub-Saharan Africa. Hosting this laboratory training for the diagnosis of the novel Coronavirus further reinforces our commitment as Roche to enable African health systems to respond to healthcare challenges and emergencies alike.”
Roche Strategic Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement Manager Jonathan Keytel explains: “The test kit that will be utilised during the upcoming 3-day training forms part of a portfolio of tests that have been developed in response to emerging infections that have impacted Africa like Ebola, Zika, Swine Flu (H1N1) and Listeria. For many of these infections Roche has suitable research use only (RUO) or even CE LightMix® kits available from TIB Molbiol.”
The training will be hosted at the Roche Scientific Campus in Midrand, a purpose-built facility housing ten training laboratories each with adjacent classrooms to enable both theoretical and hands-on training.
To drive a more proactive approach towards emerging infections, Roche Management Centre SA has launched a Roche Rapid Response initiative aimed at informing healthcare professionals and partners of the test kits already available and assisting with capacity building to ensure better readiness when the unexpected occurs.
The 2019-nCoV (novel coronavirus) is a new coronavirus and there is limited sequence information available. Three assays have been developed by TIB Molbiol to detect the presence of the virus and Roche is rolling these out as part of its Rapid Response initiative.
“As a world leader in diagnostics, Roche is committed to providing testing solutions for the world’s most challenging healthcare emergencies as fast as possible and we are delivering as many tests as is achieveable within the limits of supply.”
Dr. John Nkengasong, Director Africa CDC, says: “The training is expected to further expand laboratory diagnostic capacity for the 2019-nCoV in the continent. It is also expected that, after the training, each participant receives a diagnostic kit comprising specific primers and probes, positive controls for the new virus and proficiency panel test. The idea is to quickly put the country in effective conditions for the diagnosis of the 2019-nCoV.”
The workshop will train laboratory scientists from 20 selected laboratories on diagnostics for 2019-nCoV and provide them with diagnostic kit for testing of suspect cases of 2019-nCoV in their respective laboratories.
Keytel says: “We recognise the need for both public and private sectors to work alongside one another to successfully and effectively manage this developing situation.”
“Our aim is that the Roche Rapid Response programme will become a sustainable platform to provide solutions for outbreaks in Africa, both now and in the future, creating an opportunity for us to partner with our healthcare professionals and live up to our purpose: Doing now what patients need next.”
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