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Benefits of antibody tests are that they are mobile and easy to conduct; a drop of blood is collected through a finger prick, unlike the complicated rigorous test for coronavirus infection which requires a deep, uncomfortable, painful nasal cavity and throat swab.

7 African Countries Commit to Coronavirus Antibody Testing in Bid to Re-Open Economy

WHO has identified 7 African countries for coronavirus antibody testing to understand the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak on the continent.

Dr John Nkengasong, head of African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, has reportedly announced a continental testing project in countries that have low test rates. Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Zambia, Nigeria, Morocco and Liberia have been selected as pilot groups to undertake the project. The selected countries have agreed and shown commitment to the announcement.

Antibody tests were first approved by the South African government in July this year. According to Medical Brief, these tests are different in that they test blood for antibodies that have formed as an immune response in individuals infected with coronavirus. Medically termed "Serelogy tests", they are useful in picking up evidence that a person had the virus even if they did not show symptoms. "Antibody serology tests, in general, are useful in establishing whether a person has acquired immunity to a virus and is also useful in testing whether or not a vaccine against an infectious disease is working," explained South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).


Benefits of the tests are that they are mobile and easy to conduct; a drop of blood is collected through a finger prick, unlike the complicated rigorous test for coronavirus infection which requires a deep, uncomfortable, painful nasal cavity and throat swab.

These coronavirus antibody tests are also drastically less costly than typical coronavirus tests. Medical science experts and doctors have been previously recorded as stating that antibody tests are the "missing weapon" in combating coronavirus. Contradictingly, The South African Medical Journal has forewarned against the heroic belief in antibody tests as the science is more complicated and the presence of antibodies does not necessarily mean protection against reinfection or being contagious.


Read: 43 World Health Organisation Experts To Land in South Africa as Coronavirus Infection Rates Peak

Over one million coronavirus infections have been recorded in Africa, which is almost 10 percent of Africa's total population. South Africa leads in infection rate numbers, but that is because of the high number of tests.

WHO International Rescue Committee has analysed countries' response to the pandemic and have identified possible hotspots for coronavirus breakouts. Nigeria is of concern because of the rising infections which account for a third of Africa's total reported cases.

Political unrest in Zimbabwe is of concern as it affects coronavirus testing. While South Africa previously raised concern because of alleged under-reporting of coronavirus related deaths, coronavirus infection numbers are said to be steadily declining. South Africa reported a loss of over R5 billion in the economy due to the pandemic and Nigeria has reported millions of job losses.

Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, reported from Adis Ababa that it is also monitoring the pandemic in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia, Gabon, DR Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Egypt,and Algeria.

Nkengasong said a continental strategy was being developed to set up a consortium of clinical trials and then begin the procurement and financing of vaccines.
Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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