COVID-19: NCDC to use ‘tuberculosis machines’ for increased testing

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The Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) has disclosed that modifying GeneXpert instruments will be part of their new testing strategy for COVID-19.

According to the NCDC, the machines are being used in various states,“as first line testing for tuberculosis diagnosis.”

They will now be adopted with specially designed cartridges recently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

In the new strategy published on Friday, NCDC said it is targeting an additional 1,300 tests daily through this approach.

The agency said: “As part of this strategy, therefore, and given that every state of the Federation including the FCT has at least 5 GeneXpert sites, at least one GeneXpert site in each state will be repurposed for COVID-19 testing, to decentralize testing to all states.

“Each of the GeneXpert instruments in the country has 4-testing modules with testing capacity of about 24 samples per day. There are also available in the country two mobile laboratories equipped with 2 GeneXpert instruments each. These will be deployed as needed to support COVID-19 testing surge in target states.”

Last month there were are about 400 GeneXpert machines across Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, also confirmed that the country would be ordering for over 100,000 cartridges of the GeneXpert machine through the Global Fund facility through the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).

Nigeria has confirmed 5,445 coronavirus cases from over 10,000 tests conducted.