Grant for APOPO for expansion project fast TB detection to COVID-19, Mozambique, 2020

Project: extension project fast TB detection to COVID-19 detection in Mozambique

Beneficiary: APOPO asbl

Amount: 599,970 euros

Duration: 15 months (from October 2020)

APOPO has been a partner of the Flemish development cooperation in Mozambique since 2009. The organization has been working on TB detection in Maputo since 2013 and has an extensive network of local partners, a good infrastructure and experienced staff.

An important problem in the fight against Covid-19 is the very limited testing capacity in the African region. More laboratory capacity is also urgently needed. The problems are situated in the field of logistics as well as personnel.

In addition, most sub-Saharan African countries, including Mozambique, are still confronted with other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and AIDS. Existing services for detecting and combating these and other communicable diseases must therefore be able to continue to function simultaneously.

With this project, Apopo wants on the one hand to scale up the testing capacity in southern Mozambique (Maputo, Matola, Marracuene) for the diagnosis of Covid-19 and on the other hand to investigate whether the tests can be carried out faster and more efficiently through heat inactivation and pooling of samples (using GeneXpert-platforms).

Apopo will adapt the existing TB detection services so that they are also suitable for Covid-19 diagnosis so that capacity can be flexibly added to Covid-19 and TB detection as needed. The processing capacity is up to 70,000 samples tested within the project period of 15 months.

The research part is important because, if the results for inactivating the virus are good, this process can be applied throughout Mozambique and elsewhere in Africa.