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Assessment of the use of dry respiratory specimens to allow COVID19 surveillance in rural areas

Principal Investigator :  Audrey Dubot-Pérès, Virology

Project Status : On-going

Project Summary

Laos is a land linked country in Southeast Asia bordering China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. The ongoing COVID 19 pandemic has only gotten worse over the last year. As of August 2021, the country has seen record highs in daily number of infections. Like many LMIC countrues the true number of infections is likely much higher than reported due to the more rural areas of the countries lacking access to adequate testing. Dried blood spot collection and shipment at room temperature has shown good efficiency for arboviruses detection by real-time RT-PCR in comparison to neat serum. This project aims to measure the efficacy of dry nasopharyngeal swabs shipped at room temperature would also be efficient for the detection and SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, it was discovered that SARS-CoV-2 is detectable in saliva, thus this study also aims to explore the practicality of using saliva based assays as an alternative to the nasopharyngeal swabs in areas with poor medical facilities. f those approaches prove to be efficient, this would greatly facilitate the implementation of SARS-CoV-2 in rural areas and obtain a better picture of its circulation throughout the country. This approach could be implemented in other low income settings.