COVID-19 ECHO Session #35: Expanding COVID-19 Testing to Reopen Economies

February 3, 2021

On 2 February, 2021 this COVID-19 ECHO session was convened to discuss expanding COVID-19 testing at schools, borders and at the workplace, in an effort to reopen economies. As many countries over the world are experiencing the second wave of COVID-19, forcing some to go back to stringent lockdown measures, countries are grappling with how to reopen economies and how testing will be conducted in various settings. Dr John Nkengasong, the Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reiterated the admiration of the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT Initiative) that revolutionized testing in Africa and the need to save lives, economies and schools. With the development of the second generation of testing kits, rapid antigen tests (Ag RDTs), three things need to be addressed: 1) how do we continue to adjust testing and adapt in the context of the second wave, 2) testing to roll out the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, and 3) testing for schools to improve uptake and use it as a control measure. Presentations are made by Dr Jay Varma, Senior Advisor for Public Health at the New York City Office of the Mayor; Professor David Heyman, Medical Epidemiologist and Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Dr Alex Cook, Associate Professor at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore; and Carlos Edwardo Gouvea, Founding Member and President of The Latin America Alliance for the Development of In Vitro Diagnostics (ALADDIV). They bring their expertise and share their experiences to amplify the need for action in the context of COVID-19. Please follow the links posted here to view the recorded video session on ASLM’s YouTube channel, and download the presentations made during the session.