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EXCLUSIVE: War on Coronavirus: Inside Uganda’s Virus Research Institute

As the number of Coronavirus cases continues to soar in the country, Government is considering to set up two more new testing laboratories, Chimp Corps has learnt

Apparently, all testing is done at Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe but the number of samples received at the facility keeps growing every day.

Health Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona confirmed that “the health ministry is extending its testing and isolation services for COVID-19 to regional referral hospitals, as the numbers of confirmed cases continues to rise.”

Highly placed sources at this high-tech government laboratory intimated to ChimpCorps that in a day they receive about 700 samples from different parts of the country.

“The numbers are not coming down yet, instead they’re increasing. We expect numbers to double in the coming weeks,” a source said.

It is feared that if the number of samples keep piling up at the facility, it may pose a danger especially on the laboratory machines and experts.

It is said that samples are collected from across the country mainly from communities where already confirmed positive cases were picked from.

The health ministry has deployed expert teams at district level all over the country and “there’s a system in place already that transports all samples to Kampala,” the source added

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Swabs from the throat and nasal membrane are picked from suspected victims in a locality which are then forwarded to the government virus research institute for testing and analysis.

“It is an uncomfortable thing to go through,” the expert added

The modern high-tech equipment at the virus institute are smoothly running and delivering accurate results.

This investigative website also exclusively established that the process of testing for corona virus is done by an expert team of laboratory technologists and Biomedical engineers not medical doctors as some sections of the public believe.

Laboratory technicians run the system while biomedical engineers ensure that equipment are in sound mechanical condition.

Quality assurance, according to the source is paramount, meaning that the results released are certified by experts.

“The actual testing is done by machines and we have the most advanced equipment that do these tests. Therefore a positive is a positive and a Negative is a Negative,” the source added

However, as the corona virus is expected to spread further, Chimp Corps have established that government authorities are preparing to set up two new testing laboratories at Butabika National Mental Hospital and also at Mulago national hospital to arrest it.

According to sources, the equipment and expertise is already in place just awaiting approval.

Relatedly, government is also considering to send out rapid testing kits to regional referral hospitals to reduce the waiting time for results.

It is said that the current testing time take about 5 hours to run.

“Equipment for new laboratories is not yet dispatched but available,” the source told Chimp Corps

Experts at the facility are all in good health and determined to defeat the deadly virus.

One of the experts who preferred anonymity pointed out that these are hard and emergency times.

He said that they are simply doing their job and will look at other things when they win the battle.

“The President told us in his address that we must take this as a war and rewards come after you win,” one of them said

Meanwhile, the team is also closely monitored and is too subjected to coronavirus testing every week.

Although they don’t stay at the facility, they are closely monitored and their families by government authorities.

At least three new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Uganda this past Sunday, 28 March 2020, bringing to 33 the total number of infections in the country.

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