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Success Story: Ebola Research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Problem Overview:

Transporting supplies into the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) has been challenging. There are limited options for supplies that can be bought in-country or shipped from the manufacturer into the DRC. Equipment and supplies have been confiscated by DRC airport security, which prevents us from getting necessary functions to the labs. 


Program Activity:

The GWU (George Washington University) team met with the INRB team to discuss partnership opportunities. INRB (The Institut National de la Recherche Biomédicale) is eager to build lasting, long-standing relationships to further lab capacity enhancements, sequencing, and surveillance of viral hemorrhagic fevers. Projects discussed for collaboration include multi-pathogen discovery, multiplex PCR, viral analysis for biospecimen samples, SOP development, and starting cell culture for viral work in the P3 lab. INRB offered to assist with logistics to bring equipment into the country. INRB said the main concerns now are continued training to enhance and retain lab personnel, and reagents access, as well as identifying a process by which paperwork can be obtained from INRB to allow for equipment and materials to be transported internationally when hand carrying. 

Program Outcomes:

With collaboration opportunities, 117 patients have been tested for Ebola using the two GeneXperts that the CDC provided (count is since 04 Feb 2021, all samples were negative), Malaria smears are being conducted once per week using a microscope that is brought in from Mbandaka. The microscope at the Ingende lab is broken, Training was conducted for the malaria RDTs (used previously by the lab team) and the QBC Star, HemoCue instrument available for use, but need replacement cuvettes. Successfully retrieved CDC equipment in Ingende. The equipment was inventoried, that information was passed onto the CDC, and the equipment was either donated to the hospital or brought back to the Vysnova office in Mbandaka for storage.