The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Nigeria Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) will conduct household surveys in four states in Nigeria to better understand the burden of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria.
The seroprevalence surveys will be carried out in Gombe, Enugu, Nasarawa and Lagos States between September and November to provide the best evidence yet, on the extent of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by Chikwe Ihekweazu, NCDC director-general, and Babatunde Salako, director-general of NIMR on Monday.
According to the statement, the surveys will increase the current understanding of COVID-19 transmission patterns, the burden of infection in the population, and the age groups most affected.
“This information will help inform COVID-19 response decisions by the Government of Nigeria and partners as part of measures towards ending the pandemic.
The statement added that the surveys will also estimate the proportion of people who have COVID-19 but are not showing any symptoms i.e. asymptomatic.
“Through this, the country can identify risk factors for infection and measure the transmission of COVID-19 within households.
“, the statement read.
The statement explained that seroprevalence surveys are used to identify the occurrence of disease in a population by estimating the presence of antibodies in individuals who have had the disease.
“This is done by testing blood samples in randomly selected households in selected states. For Nigeria’s COVID-19 seroprevalence survey, household members will answer a brief questionnaire, be tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, as well as for acute COVID-19, if they consent.
“In addition to this, study participants will also have a rapid
malaria test and receive treatment if the test is positive”, it read.
It nnoted that this is the first set of household surveys to be conducted for COVID-19 in Nigeria and as part of ongoing public health research activities.
“By administering rapid malaria tests, the surveys will also assess malaria infections and their
possible relationship to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The results from these surveys will inform the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) and the University College London (supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) are supporting NCDC and NIMR in implementing these surveys.
The US CDC’s implementing partner, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), will also support the State Ministries of Health with implementation.
Preliminary results are expected to be released by December 2020.