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We read with great interest the article by Marietjie Venter and Karin Richter on the diagnostic assay for COVID-19 . We agree with the authors about delays in diagnoses, a severe shortage of tests and laboratory capacity for performing RT-PCR tests. This is especially true for many developing countries such as Bangladesh, which is faced with current health care crises to provide healthcare for more than 165 million population. A large number of people are being tested for COVID-19 and confirmed with the disease every day in Bangladesh, and many more remain undetected due to the lack of testing. Further, the delay to receive test results and lack of medical records cause COVID-19 patients to transmit the disease in the community and hamper proper treatments.
Prior to the COVID-19 test, several pre-conditional medical records are required to support the results. In Bangladesh, these records are generally gathered by health workers in the testing centres manually and ignoring many important symptoms and conditions. However, this
process is tedious and prone to omission, error and bias, leading to incomplete medical records. Further, participants are required to return to the centre the next day to collect test results which might increase community transmission. To mitigate such disadvantages, we developed a
smartphone-based RT-PCR record and monitoring app ‘mobEVID’.
This app has been built following Novel coronavirus RT-PCR app...
This app has been built following Novel coronavirus RT-PCR app developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research . After developing a beta version of the app, we consulted with a group of national experts (including people engaged with RT-PCR testing, health policymakers,
hospital administrators, researchers and clinicians). We demonstrated the contents and designs of the app to the experts. The app was further modified based on expert recommendations. We translated the materials of the app into Bangla following a rigorous process of translation and
back-translation by two bilingual researchers. This app allows users and laboratory personals to record COVID-19 test results and individual
medical records in the app and transmit them to a secure server for storage and use by clinicians. The user account contains four parts such including: (i) add new entry, (ii) repeat test, (iii) view personal details, and (iv) incomplete records. The 'new entry' part allows to create a new patient ID and is split into two sections, A and B. In section A, test participants provide their contact information such as name, address, email, phone number etc. and select information related to collected samples. In section B, the exposure history and medical records of the test participant are entered, for example, if the participants have recently travelled abroad or had contact with COVID-19 cases/suspected cases. In addition, clinical symptoms and conditions are presented as a drop-down menu to enter the participant's medical history. Finally, the details of the participant's hospitalization information are entered. On the other hand, the app allows any participants in Bangladesh to download the app and self-register as a user freely.
If a participant is tested for COVID-19, they can receive their RT-PCR test results rapidly through this app. Data from the app are stored securely in a central repository and can be exported in different formats (excel/pdf) to the local authority. This app can be used either in Bangla or English, which makes it more user friendly and interpretable to the users.
The mobEVID is a flexible option for both test providers and users to share primary information and test results rapidly. The app also contains up to date information on COVID-19 following national recommendations and medical records of the participants. These records are also helpful for clinicians treating the cases and inform the participants about their condition immediately for contact tracing, taking necessary action and monitoring progress. This app might be useful for government and policymaker to record COVID-19 cases, maintain a patient database and help prevent rapid community transmission of COVID-19 in Bangladesh.
Acknowledgement: We are thankful to Dr. Newaz Mohammed Bahadur, Dr. Firoz Ahmed, and Koushik Chandra Howlader to support us to build this apps.
 Venter M, Richter K. Towards effective diagnostic assays for COVID-19: a review. Journal of Clinical Pathology 2020;73:370-377.
 NIC EGov Mobile Apps “RT-PCR - Apps on Google Play.” Google, Google, 3 June 2020, play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nic.hp.niv_reporting&hl=en.
Dr Sheikh Mohammed Shariful Islam, MBBS, MPH, PhD, FESC
NHMRC Emerging Leader and National Heart Foundation Senior Research Fellow
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University,
221 Burwood Highway, Burwood 3125, Melbourne, Australia
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