By Lyu Qiang and Peng Yi
JOHANNESBURG, December 24 -- The COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing Lab in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was officially handed over to the Chinese peacekeeping medical contingent to the DRC for use and management on December 22, local time.
Being one of the 18 COVID-19 nucleic acid testing labs deployed to the UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, the lab is located at the isolation center of Civil Affairs of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), adjacent to the Chinese second-class hospital in Bukavu.
The lab consists of three areas respectively for specimen preparation, product analysis and report delivery, and is equipped with a mini PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) analyzer system, which is a portable, automatic, fast, real-time, and miniature nucleic acid detection platform.
This is the first time for the Chinese medical peacekeepers to DRC to undertake the UN nucleic acid testing task. They collected the throat swab specimen from patients, stored them in a special virus preservation solution and then transferred the samples to the lab in a special specimen transport box. There, the laboratory technician extracted the viral nucleic acid for detection. The test result would be issued within one and a half hours at the earliest, with an accuracy rate of over 95%.
During the whole process, medical staffs operated strictly according to the procedures for COVID-19 nucleic acid detection and thoroughly disinfected the environment of the venues involved to minimize the exposure and infection risks for the medical staff present.
It was reported that the Chinese peacekeeping medical contingent to the DRC has also improved the emergency response plan and isolation workflow of COVID-19 positive patients in response to unexpected but possible situations, so as to ensure the successful completion of the task entrusted by the UN.