Zimbabwe is one of 7 African countries that will start conducting anti-body Covid-19 tests starting next week in a bid to understand how far the coronavirus has spread across the country. Currently the country has just under 5 000 cases and 128 people are known to have succumbed to the virus. However, the truth is there almost certainly a lot of other unkown cases out there and anti-body tests are meant to help with that.

The seven African countries that will be administering the tests are:

  • Liberia,
  • Sierra Leone,
  • Zambia,
  • Zimbabwe,
  • Cameroon,
  • Nigeria and
  • Morocco 

This information was revealed by by John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Addis Ababa.

Gauging the unknown

Antibody tests are administered on random samples of the population in order to determine whether they have coronavirus anti-bodies within their blood. This is because studies have shown that a large portion of people can get the virus but might not even know it as they might have very mild symptoms. However these people can still spread the virus unwittingly. By using antibody tests, the government will be able to guage just how many people are likely to have to have contracted the virus and recovered from it.

This is being used by some Western countries as a way to determine whether they can reopen. Some researches have asserted that once a high number of the population have contracted the disease and have developed an immunity-a concept known as herd immunity- it will be safe to reopen.