The European Union (EU) Joint Research Centre has sent a consignment of control material, which allows laboratories to check the correct functioning of their Covid-19 tests and avoid false negatives, to South Africa.
The EU Joint Research Centre developed the control material at its laboratories in Geel, Belgium, in support of global efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“As the pandemic sweeps across South Africa, it is critical for medical staff, policy makers and the public at large to be able to fully rely on test data to facilitate timely interventions and action. This small, but hugely useful contribution to South Africa’s efforts to manage the spread of the disease is an expression of our strategic partnership,” says EU Ambassador to South Africa Dr Riina Kionka.
The control material will be sent to 22 laboratories throughout South Africa.
It will enable researchers to carry out thousands of controls to ensure the efficiency of the Covid-19 tests used in the country.
“This has been an extraordinary time in history for laboratory testing in South Africa. Assay validations for Covid-19 and the rapid implementation of testing platforms thereafter, have had to be conducted at an unprecedented speed," National Health Laboratory Service national priority programmes director Professor Wendy Stevens comments.
"The complexity of molecular testing is frequently not understood and, thus, the provision of standardised quality control material by colleagues from the EU is both timeous and will provide us with much-needed reassurance that we are not releasing poor quality assays into the field," she adds.