Professor William Ampofo, Head of Virology Department, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), explaining the procedures involved in testing samples for COVID-19 at a media briefing in Accra on Wednesday, indicated that each individual’s samples were grouped into four pools in the laboratory.
He said they often took four specimen or samples- throat swab, nasal swab, sputum and nasal lavage- from each person for testing, in order to enhance the accuracy of the test result.
For instance, he said, the 120 persons who had fully recovered would have 480 sample tests because each person would have been tested four times.
He said the data of the number of re-test was insignificant because a separate database is created for it.
In that regard the figures the Ghana Health Service (GHS) reported were the number of individuals who had been tested, and excluded the data of multiple testing, therefore the number of samples was approximately equal to the number of tests reported.
Prof. Ampofo said there had been more than 30,000 samples tested since the President addressed the nation on Sunday, April 19, which at that time stood at 68,591.
He said each sample for COVID-19 was accompanied by a case investigation form, which detailed the geographic location of the person and whether he/she had travelled outside or not.
Pro. Ampofo, therefore, stated that there was no discordance in the data the GHS reported.
He however, entreated the GHS to use bar graphs to clearly explain the values, rather than using line graphs.
Prof. Ampofo said currently, the laboratories conducting test for COVID-19 is using four test kits machines that were approved by the World Health Organization, African Centre for Disease Control and West African Health Organization.
He said, those test kits were up to international standard, which ensured the testing procedures were quality and verifiable.
He said the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) was now assessing and evaluating a Rapid Diagnostic Test to ensure the country could use it for COVID-19 testing and hope the process would be over soon.
Currently, Ghana is using research laboratories at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Kumasi Collaborative Centre for Research, Public Health Laboratory at Korle-Bu and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for conducting COVID-19 sample test.
All the government’s measures and interventions are intended to achieve five strategic objectives: Limit and stop the importation of the virus, detect and contain the spread of the virus, enhance contact tracing and testing of the virus, care for the sick, minimizing the impact on economic and social lives and boosting domestic capability and deepen our self-reliance.