The Water Reed Army Institute of Research, through the Joint West Africa Research Group (JWARG), coordinated multiple shipments of supplies including personal protective equipment and a testing platform for the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) in response to a request for support during the COVID-19 emergency.
JWARG transferred gloves, masks, face shields, hand sanitizer and more to the AFL via the U.S. Embassy in Liberia in the last week of June and again in early October 2020. The group also supplied a Cephied testing platform, which was recommended as the best COVID-19 testing platform for environments such as Liberia.
In December 2020, JWARG purchased and delivered a 16-module GeneXpert, a diagnostic instrument, to conduct real time RT-PCR testing of patient samples. This closed automation system doesn’t require any additional lab equipment to run the tests. All of the sample preparation, nucleic acid extractions, amplification and detection is done inside the single use test cartridges. The 16-module GeneXpert allows for 16 samples to be run at once and results are obtained in about an hour.
JWARG is a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) funded Army-Navy collaborative initiative that leverages existing research platforms and relationships to improve biopreparedness by strengthening research capabilities in West Africa. JWARG aims to improve laboratory and clinical research capabilities in West Africa to enable the development of effective infectious diseases countermeasures including diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
Lead DOD JWARG partners include the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch EIDB and the Austere Environment Consortium for Enhanced Sepsis Outcomes (ACESO). The initiative is collaborating with military, academic and clinical partners to conduct a study of suspected severe infectious diseases in Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana. In Liberia, JWARG works primarily with Phebe Hospital, Kolahun Hospital, Camp Edward Binyah Kesselly Clinic (Monrovia), and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (Charlesville) on research and biopreparedness efforts.