Countries rush to build diagnostic capacity as coronavirus spreads

CHICAGO/GENEVA (HRNW) – A week ago, only two laboratories in Africa could diagnose the novel coronavirus that originated in China and is rapidly spreading around the world. As of Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) expected every nation in Africa to be able to diagnose the disease.

The rush reflects a global push for diagnostic capabilities, particularly in developing countries, in hopes of averting a global pandemic. But it is being slowed by a desperate need for virus samples necessary to validate the tests.

“Without vital diagnostic capacity, countries are in the dark as to how far and wide the virus has spread and who has coronavirus or another disease with similar symptoms,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva on Monday.

As of early Monday, there had been 40,235 confirmed cases reported in China and 909 deaths, as well as 319 cases in 24 other countries, including one death.

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