Phumelele Ramphoma, Laboratory Manager: Covid-19 Diagnostic Laboratory
Cases of 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) caused by the severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 or SARS-CoV-2 are approaching 39 million. The virus is mainly transmitted via contaminated aerosols from coughing and sneezing, or even talking. The majority of Covid-19 cases are either asymptomatic or result in only mild symptoms. However, the remaining cases, about 20%, lead to severe illness with the mortality rate standing at about 5%. With the death toll approaching 1.1 million around the world, there is still no effective vaccine against Covid-19, and early diagnosis and isolation have been the most powerful tool for decision makers in the public and private sectors to fight the spread of the diseases. Since the beginning of the lockdown period in South Africa, the CSIR has been providing mass molecular testing for employees of major public and private South African institutions. Researchers share lessons learnt.