Dr Hakim Sendagire, a microbiologist based at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences told URN in an interview on Tuesday morning that they have studied five laboratory tests that can be used to determine the chances of one developing critical illness and when it is right to introduce certain treatments since some COVID positives may not require any form of medicines.
Researchers recommend conducting specific tests on people
who test positive for COVID-19 to determine whether or not they will
deteriorate into severe disease.
Dr Hakim Sendagire, a microbiologist based at the Makerere
University College of Health Sciences told URN in an interview on Tuesday morning
that they have studied five laboratory tests that can be used to determine the
chances of one developing critical illness and when it is right to introduce
certain treatments since some COVID positives may not require any form of
In these tests, health workers measure a number of specific
chemicals in the body that help them determine the nature of the disease one
will get. One of the tests measures proteins since the SARS – COV- 2 virus that causes
COVID-19 tends to trigger an increase of proteins.
//Cue in; ”These tests should…
Cue out…Regularized intervention.”//
Sendagire who was releasing results of a study in which he
analyzed clinical chemistry, haematology and other laboratory profiles of COVID-19 patients admitted in Mulago, Entebbe and Masaka hospitals says their findings are aimed at guiding clinical
management especially in an event that the anticipated third wave comes with a
lot of critically ill patients.
//Cue in; “The samples are...
Cue out… enrol on treatment.”//
He says these tests will help to cushion
against a large number of people getting ill abruptly and overwhelming the health
system that was seen in the previous wave which saw the death toll from the
disease skyrocketing from just about 300 people by end of 2020 to over 3,000 people by
end of September.
However, this study funded by Makerere University Research and
Innovation Fund (MAK- RIF) comes at a time when there are no clear
criteria on pointers used to determine both patients that may progress into the severe disease at the point of
testing and at what point medicines like steroids can be introduced to a patient.
Previously especially in the first wave, interventions would
be based on what was being used elsewhere, a reason why the country
started by using since discontinued medicines such as hydroxychloroquine and
some point explored use of blood plasma in treatment which in the end didn’t
show impact on treatment outcomes.
Citing dexamethasone, which was highly misused early in the
pandemic until the Ministry of Health issued guidelines for the steroid to
only be used under prescription, researchers say that when this drug is introduced
early on, it risks the patient into acquiring diabetes yet when introduced
very late when one is battling the critical disease, it can also be very
Now the doctor says healthcare workers should adopt the use of
evolving laboratory tools such as neutralizing antibodies in the assessment of
individual immune status, determining disease severity and exact time of starting
treatment especially for those living with other co-morbidities such as HIV,
cancer and diabetes.
But, on another note, these tests are quite expensive and
may not be afforded by all health facilities handling COVID-19 patients. Sendagire says each test could go for between 60, 000 and 100, 000 Shillings which can also be repetitive driving the cost of diagnosis even