AfroLabNet – Corona Global

Strengthening of National Capacities to Support Addressing the COVID-19 Health Crisis

Members of the LFHVG sequencing team and trainers from Nigeria during hands-on training on next generation sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, at CRV-LVHFG, Conakry, Guinea, in October 2022 (Source: BNITM)

Short Description

Since 2016, the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine has been working with the Global Health Protection Programme (AfroLabNet) in Nigeria, Benin and Guinea to strengthen stationary and mobile laboratory capacities on viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) of the risk group 4 such as Lassa fever. The COVID-19 pandemic confronted our partner laboratories with a very high number of samples that exceeded their capacity in terms of available equipment as well as trained staff.

Thus, the new AfroLabNet_Covid programme builds on our previous work and specifically focuses on filling gaps that have been identified since the start of COVID-19. This new project will not only ensure that the endemic VHFs are not neglected (AfroLabNet), but also specifically address the capacity building needs due to COVID-19. This will enable both the stationary and mobile laboratories to take on their national responsibility in the COVID-19 pandemic to provide diagnostic services, identify variants, and understand the dynamic of how the disease spreads.

The core activities are:

  • Modernization of the laboratories in the partner countries with additional equipment and reagents for SARS-CoV-2 testing and implementation of a sequencing facility in Guinea
  • Laboratory training on newly developed assays for SARS-CoV-2 along with quality management and knowledge transfer
  • Operational support for the Nigerian mobile laboratory for COVID-19
  • Implement sentinel studies to research the spreading of COVID-19 in communities

Project Objectives

To facilitate the COVID-19 pandemic response in Nigeria, Benin, and Guinea by empowering both stationary and mobile laboratories and providing essential support to the Ministries of Health and the broader public health infrastructure in each respective country, the project will pursue the following objectives:

  • Reinforcing the VHFs AfroLabNet programme by tackling COVID-19
  • Building and strengthening diagnostic capacity for SARS-CoV-2 in both stationary and mobile laboratories
  • Facilitating the detection of circulating SARS-CoV-2 (i.e. variants tracking)
  • Reinforcing the quality assurance management system of partner laboratories and training on new COVID-19 assays
  • Supporting the deployment of mobile laboratory for COVID-19
  • Understanding the COVID-19 seroprevalence in communities

In Cooperation with

  • Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, Nigeria (ISTH) inkl. COVID-19 satellite facilities, Abuja
  • Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Abuja
  • Laboratoire des Fièvres Hémorragiques virales de Guinée, LFHVG, Matoto, Guinea
  • Laboratoire des Fièvres Hémorragiques Virales de Gueckédou, LFHV-GKD, Guinea
  • Laboratoire de l’hôpital régional de N’Zérékoré, HRNZE, Guinea
  • Laboratoire des Fièvres Hémorragiques Virales de Cotonou, LFHV-Cot, Benin

Last update: December 2022



01.05.2021 - 30.04.2023


ca. 1,500,000 EUR

Partner Countries

  • Benin
  • Guinea
  • Nigeria

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