BHP is living true to its mission of fighting emerging public health challenges through innovative research and capacity building that impacts policy and practice. In addition to participating in and assisting the National Health Laboratory SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 national testing effort, the BHP is collaborating with the University of Botswana, and the Sir Ketumile Masire Hospital in a COVID-19 Cohort Study led by Prof Mosepele Mosepele.
Dr David Lawrence Study Physician announced the enrolment of the first participant into the study on the 20thof August 2020 with the study enrollment standing at 53 study participants as at October 06, 2020.
The study, called COVID-19: An observational cohort of cases treated in Gaborone aims to understand the COVID-19 epidemic in Botswana, with a particular focus on the relationship between COVID-19 and HIV. The study will describe the presentation, severity, clinical course and outcome of individuals who are diagnosed and treated with COVID-19 in Gaborone. It will also compare the difference between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected individuals, determine the impact of COVID-19 on HIV infection, and determine if individuals with HIV infection are infectious for longer that those without HIV.
The study will recruit individuals with COVID-19 at Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH). “Through this study, we shall also develop a bio-repository of samples that can be used to further understand the virology, immunology, genetics, and new diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2” Said Dr Lawrence.
Dr Lawrence has commended all the partners for playing their part in ensuring that the study becomes a success.
“I would like to thank everyone for all their hard work up to this point. This is an entirely locally led protocol and it has been a true team effort across all collaborating partners including the Presidential Task Force. This is collaboration is particularly remarkable and sets the tone if we are to overcome the COVID-19 epidemic in Botswana and comes at a time when we are all working harder than ever before even within our own programmes to meet the challenge of COVID-19,” he said.
For his part Prof Mosepele said “We collaborate with experts based here in Botswana and international scholars. It is important to harness local skills and resources to demonstrate our research capacity and expertise in Botswana which has been evident throughout the HIV/AIDS era as we encounter these new public health challenges. Indeed we are ready to contribute to generalizable knowledge to combat COVID-19 locally, regionally and globally”
He further extends appreciation to all the investigators and partners for their enthusiasm and commitment to the project
“We look forward to successful recruitment and using our expertise here in Botswana to assist with the COVID-19 response,” he said.