U.S. supports Government of Nigeria with $2.1 million to better understand the extent of COVID-19 infection in the country

Abuja – The United States Government, through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is supporting the Government of Nigeria to conduct a household survey to determine the extent of COVID-19 transmission in the states of Gombe, Enugu, and Nasarawa.  The survey will increase the current understanding of COVID-19 transmission and burden in these three states and inform COVID-19 response efforts of the Government of Nigeria and its partners.

The U.S. CDC is funding the full cost of the survey ($2.1 million) and providing technical assistance as part of the U.S. Government’s bilateral efforts to improve the health and well-being of the Nigerian people.  The survey will estimate the proportion of the population in these states who have ever been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 disease.  This will be accomplished by measuring the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the blood of volunteers. These antibodies, specialized proteins produced by the immune system to fight infection, are generated as part of the body’s response to COVID-19 and are an indication of previous infection.

The survey will also estimate the proportion of people who have the disease but are not showing any symptoms, determine risk factors for infection, and measure the intra-household transmission of COVID-19.  The survey will also estimate the prevalence of malaria and its potential relationship to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

All members of selected households will be offered the opportunity to participate in the survey.  If they agree, participants will answer a brief questionnaire, have their blood drawn and tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, and receive a nasal swab and oropharyngeal swab to test for acute COVID-19.  They will also have a rapid malaria test and receive malaria treatment if the test is positive.

Testing for COVID-19 infection and antibodies will be done at the National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja.

The U.S. CDC is working with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), one of its implementing partners in Nigeria, to provide technical assistance and oversee field implementation of the survey.  The survey will be conducted between September and November with preliminary results expected to be released by December 2020.