Uganda’s COVID-19 cases hit 679 as community infections soar

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By :
AT Reporter

Uganda’s Ministry of Health has registered 14 new cases of Covid-19 pushing the country’s tally to 679.

The new cases are out of 2,321 samples tested on Wednesday from border points of entry and the community.

According to Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the director general health services at ministry of health, six out of the new cases are from truck drivers who arrived from Elegu and Mutukula border points with one who arrived through Lamwo District.

The other eight are from alerts and contacts to previously confirmed cases. These include 3 from Kampala, 2 from Amuru, 2 from Dokolo and 1 person from Moyo district.

Dr. Mwebesa also revealed that, 30 truck drivers from Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Eritrea were handed back to their respective countries of origin upon testing positive for the virus.

To-date, the total number of recoveries registered stands at 120 with no Covid-19 related deaths.

Relatedly, Prof Vinand Nantulya, a senior researcher and proprietor of one of the firms that make diagnostic kits in the country, has designed testing kits for coronavirus.

Africa Tembelea understands that evaluation results of the rapid-results testing kits by the National Drugs Authority (NDA) will be released today.

If approved by NDA team, the kits will deliver results in five minutes compared to 45 minutes or three hours from other methods such as GeneXpert or PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) machine, said Prof Nantulya.

“The kits first have to undergo field evaluation to show whether it is working well before being approved,” the proprietor of Astel Diagnostics Ltd is quoted to have told a local Ugandan media outlet, the Daily Monitor.

“I have developed an antibody detection kit, the test detects both IgG (Immunoglobulin G) and (Immunoglobulin M) IgM. The IgM tests is just like that from PCR machine and IgG detects if someone has been exposed to the coronavirus,” he said.

Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to an infection and are specific to that particular infection. IgM and IgG are the forms of the antibodies found in blood. IgG tests detect IgG antibodies that develop in most patients within seven to 10 days after symptoms of Covid-19 begin to manifest. IgM test detects IgM antibodies which is usually the first antibody produced by the immune system when a virus attacks.

Prof Moses Joloba, an expert in diagnostics and the head of the Makerere laboratory doing the validation, was yesterday reported locked up in a meeting and could not comment on the issue by press time.

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