COVID-19 Scientific and Public Health Policy Update – (20 October 2020)

In addition to our Weekly Outbreak Brief on the spread of COVID-19 and the actions that Africa CDC is taking to help African Union Member States. Africa CDC shares a weekly brief detailing the latest developments in scientific knowledge and public health policy from around the world, as well as updates to the latest guidance from WHO and other public health agencies. Contents of this document are not intended to serve as recommendations from the Africa CDC; rather, it is a summary of the scientific information available in the public space to Member States. It is important to note that the outbreak is evolving rapidly and that the nature of this information will continue to change. We will provide regular updates to ensure Member States are informed of the most critical developments in these areas.

A. Executive summary
 Phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes from samples collected during the early phase of the pandemic in Kenya identified 8 global lineages and at least 76 independent SARS-CoV-2 introductions into the Kenyan coast. The dominant B.1 lineage (European origin) accounted for 82.1% of the cases.
 A cross-sectional study reports on the sero-prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Addis Ababa. The SARS-CoV-2 sero-prevalence was estimated at 8.8% for the study population with a higher sero-prevalence observed for males (9.0%) suggesting that more individuals had been infected in Addis Ababa than what was being detected and reported by RT-PCR test suggestive of community transmission.
 The WHO SOLIDARITY and RECOVERY trial report on whether various regimes (lopinavir–ritonavir – for RECOVERY; Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir and Interferon regimens – for SOLIDARITY) under investigation had an effect on outcomes in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Findings indicate no effects on overall mortality, ventilation and duration of hospital stay for COVID-19 patients.
 A dynamic COVID-19 microsimulation model was developed to evaluate clinical and economic outcomes and cost-effectiveness of epidemic control strategies in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Findings indicate that strategies involving contact tracing, isolation centres, mass symptom screening, and quarantine centres for contacts who test negative would substantially reduce COVID-19 mortality and be cost-effective.


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