PAHO hands over COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Kits

12 Apr 2020
Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell hands over the COVID-19 diagnostic test kits to Dr. Cleopatra Jessurun  Director of the ministry of Public Health.

PAHO/WHO for Suriname, 12 April 2020 - To facilitate the diagnosis of the COVID-19 virus Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell Representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) officially handed over to  Dr. Cleopatra Jessurun Director of the Ministry of Health,  reagents for the diagnosis of COVID-19 at the Central Laboratory on 9 April 2020. Also 1,750 posters in different languages were provided for risk communication with communities in Suriname.

The reagents provided include 1 Set of primers and probes for the detections SARS-CoV-2 E gene, which is enough for around 3900 reactions and 1 Set of primers and probe for the detections SARS-CoV-2 RdRP gene, which is enough for around 3500 reactions.

“Primers and probes are manufactured genes…,” says Merrel Wongsokarijo, head of the Central Laboratory, “which can recognize the virus - which is also a gene - so if the virus is present, the primers and probes will bind to the genetic material of the virus and the device sees it, it detects it. If the virus is not present, these primers and probes cannot bind and you will not receive a signal in the device, which you see as negative. So the primers and probes cause a reaction.”

Dr. Lewis-Bell indicates that there are standard case definitions on a suspected case of COVID-19 developed by the WHO which countries are using as the criteria for testing. “Testing is also being done on recovered cases to confirm the absence of shedding of the virus.  Countries may also use their own additional criteria based on their transmission category to determine additional persons to be tested,” says Lewis-Bell. According to her PAHO will continue its technical support and guidance to the Ministry of Public Health.