Wits University: Tested positive for coronavirus or been close to someone who has? You are urgently needed for SA's rapid test study

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South Africans who have tested positive for coronavirus (SARS-COV2 or COVID-19) or those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and tested negative, are urgently being sought for South Africa’s coronavirus rapid test study.

Health Ministetr Zweli Mkhize, has expressed concern that not enough testing is being done. Says Professor Elizabeth Mayne, head of immunology at Wits University, and the principal investigator for this study, “Testing for coronavirus currently is difficult and expensive. We need a full laboratory and the tests take around 24-48 hours for a result. Rapid testing kits are available,” she explains, “but the results are not always accurate. We are under pressure to find tests that work. If the results aren’t accurate, someone could believe that they don’t have coronavirus, not self-isolate and go on to infect others. We need 300 participants for a study to check various rapid tests that are being brought into South Africa to make sure that they work. We need samples from people who have had coronavirus or who have antibodies for coronavirus to be able to test this.”

The study has been approved by the University of the Witwatersrand Human Research Ethics Committee.

What is required?
Study participants will be given full details about the study and will be able to ask questions. A nurse, wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE), will come to the participant’s home. She will take around eight teaspoons of blood, some saliva and some mouth/throat swabs.

The patient will be asked for information such as age, underlying conditions like high blood pressure and chronic lung diseases, any medications being taken, when he or she tested positive, travel history and asked if they had any symptoms. Participants will not be able to get the results of their tests. These samples will be used to create banks of known positive and negative controls that scientists around the country can use to quickly and accurately test any rapid or serological tests.

Participation is entire voluntary. You can withdraw consent at any time without giving a reason and this will have no effect on your diagnosis or treatment. If you would consider participating, please email Professor Elizabeth Mayne, elizabeth.mayne@nhls.ac.za or call 082 337 6349 and full information will be shared with you.

Issued by Turquoise PR & Marketing Communications

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