Respiratory infections represent a huge burden to the health systems in low- and middle income countries (LMICs). In the context of the current pandemic, the accurate and timely detection of the responsible respiratory pathogen has become increasingly crucial, particularly in Africa where healthcare capacities for severe cases are limited. Pathogen-based diagnostics are particularly challenging in rural hospitals. Despite having a broad catchment area and vast attendance, there is a lack of resources for a timely detection of the different respiratory pathogens. This knowledge gap makes it difficult to decide for necessary patient isolation and distinct them from COVID-19-like illnesses (CLI), determine the need for patient isolation and distinguish them from CLI, resulting in the improper use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Therefore, this project intends to transfer laboratory capacities that allow establishing a timely molecular detection of a broad spectrum of respiratory pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, in a district hospital located in Assin Foso in the Central Region of Ghana. Additionally, beyond differential diagnosis, the project seeks to generate insights into the risk factors associated with severe presentation of COVID-19 and the development of post-acute COVID-19 conditions. Concerning evidence on the post-acute COVID-19 condition is being generated mainly from the Global North while little is known of this condition in LMICs.
The CLEAR project will follow up patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection with a confirmatory PCR-test in order to investigate clinical, sociodemographic and biological factors determining the occurrence of the post-acute COVID-19 condition.
CLEAR Comprises two Pillars:
- Transferring molecular laboratory capacities for the detection of respiratory pathogens including SARS-CoV-2 to support the pandemic response at one district hospital of the Central Region, Ghana:
- Providing laboratory equipment for molecular diagnostics
- Training laboratory personal on molecular diagnostics (including viral and bacterial pathogens), microbiological methods and antibiotic susceptibility testing
- Integrating this project into the Stand-AMR project : ‘Development of a standardised AMR laboratory for resource limited settings’ (ongoing GHPP funded project)
- Research in the context of the pandemic to inform public health response:
- About differential diagnosis, risk factors and clinical presentation of confirmed COVID-19 vs. CLI
- Characterising and identifying of risk factors for the post-acute COVID-19 condition among the study population
- Establishing molecular and improving existing microbiological diagnostics for respiratory pathogens including SARS-CoV-2 at the laboratories of one rural hospital at Assin Foso
- Training laboratory personal on molecular diagnostics for respiratory pathogens including SARS-CoV-2 in order to strengthen the COVID-19 response and public health policy
- Integrating data generated on diagnostics of respiratory pathogens with an ongoing GHPP funded project as well as with the national microbiology surveillance programme
- Determining differential diagnosis, risk factors and clinical presentation associated with CLI during the pandemic in order to assist decision-making for the pandemic response
- Characterising and determining risk factors associated with developing the post-acute COVID-19 condition in the population attending to the reference hospital of Assin Foso
Last update: December 2022