Nature Magazine has published an article, ‘A pooled testing strategy for identifying SARS-CoV-2 at low prevalence,’ following a study carried out in Rwanda.
Conducted by researchers from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, the Rwanda joint COVID-19 taskforce and the University of Rwanda, the study pointed out an efficient and cost-effective method to optimise testing.
This approach to pooled testing is the result of a mathematical investigation led by Prof. Wilfred Ndifon, a mathematical epidemiologist and Chief Scientific Officer at AIMS.
“To approach the level of testing necessary to control COVID-19, you need to sample people intelligently and test; regularly, quickly. We have developed a method that can improve the capacity of countries to test massively and regularly at a lower cost,” he said.
“We used to have an average of 1,500 samples a day, providing feedback within 48 hours. Now with pool testing, within a day, we give the feedback to the patients,” said Prof. Leon Mutesa, a member of the Rwanda joint COVID-19 task force, lead experimentalist of the study, and director of the Centre for Human Genetics, University of Rwanda.
Also commenting on the study, AIMS Chief Executive Officer, Lydie Hakizimana, noted, “Research is one of the most critical pillars of the AIMS ecosystem of transformation and this study is yet another demonstration of the application of mathematics to real-world problems.”
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