Kemri stops virus tests at its centres

In Summary

• In a statement on Wednesday, director general Yeri Kombe said walk-ins to the facilities will no longer be allowed.

•"Members of the public and all corporate clients are advised to make a formal request to Kemri if they need Covid-19 sample collection services," he said.

Kenya Medical Research Institute.
CASH-STRAPPED: Kenya Medical Research Institute.
Image: FILE

Kemri has announced it will no longer be handling sample collection for Covid-19 at its headquarters and other centres.

In a statement on Wednesday, director general Yeri Kombe said walk-ins to the facilities will no longer be allowed.

 

"Members of the public and all corporate clients are advised to make a formal request to Kemri if they need Covid-19 sample collection services," he said.

The institute did not give reasons for stopping collection.

Last week, a report by Kemri showed about 2.6 million Kenyans already have the coronavirus.

This was the conclusion after scientists tested donated blood for antibodies.

Antibodies are proteins made by the body to attack foreign substances such as viruses and bacteria.

Their presence in blood indicates the individual has ever been infected — even if that person never showed symptoms.

The prevalence of antibodies to the virus ranged from 1.1 per cent in blood donated in Uasin Gishu county to 12.4 per cent in Nairobi.

The researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute - Wellcome Trust tested blood donated across the country between April 30 and June 16. 

"Antibody testing suggests many more Kenyans have already been exposed to Covid-19 than have been identified by surveillance activities," Kemri says in a policy brief, released early this week. 

Kemri estimated about 550,000 people in Nairobi and roughly 100,000 in Mombasa, have already contracted and recovered from Covid-19, probably gaining some immunity.