US Supports Nigeria with $2.1m for Survey on COVID-19 Transmission

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The United States Government, through the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is supporting Nigeria with $2.1 million to conduct a household survey to determine the extent of COVID-19 transmission in Gombe, Enugu, and Nasarawa states.

The US Mission in Abuja in a statement issued yesterday said the survey would increase the current understanding of COVID-19 transmission and burden in these three states.

It stated: “The US CDC is funding the full cost of the survey ($2.1 million) and providing technical assistance as part of the US Government’s bilateral efforts to improve the health and well-being of the Nigerian people.

“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 accomplished by measuring the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the blood of volunteers. These antibodies, specialised proteins produced by the immune system to fight infection, are generated as part of the body’s response to COVID-19 and are an indication of previous infection.”

The US said the survey would also 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.

It added that the survey would also estimate the prevalence of malaria and its potential relationship to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The US revealed that 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, it noted, would be conducted between September and November with preliminary results expected to be released by December 2020.

It stressed that testing for COVID-19 infection and antibodies will be done at the National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja.

The US pointed out that all members of selected households would be offered the opportunity to participate in the survey.

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