COVID-19 Publications


Mar, 2021

Testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection: a key strategy to keeping schools and universities open

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Authors: Archana Koirala, Nicholas Wood, Kristine Macartney

Published in: The Lancet


Introduction: Education has been profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lack of access to education has exacerbated the divide between rich and poor and left vulnerable children exposed to domestic violence and hunger. The best way of keeping educational institutions open for in-person learning is to control transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the wider community1 and to ensure rapid identification of infected staff and students to support timely and tailored public health responses. A comprehensive testing strategy is a core tenet in control, especially as a majority (40–60%) of children and young people have asymptomatic COVID-19,2 and individuals who are pre-symptomatic also present a transmission risk. Mitigation measures such as physical distancing, use of masks, and ensuring adequate ventilation within classrooms are also key, especially when community based transmission exists.

SARS-CoV-2 infection can be diagnosed by two methods: direct testing for the viral RNA with highly sensitive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests or viral antigen detection tests, which identify active (or resolving) infection on a nasal, oropharyngeal, or salivary sample and allow early case identification to contain outbreaks. Testing for antibodies against the virus diagnose previous or recent infection (with onset of 10 or more days previously). The delayed nature of virus-specific antibody testing precludes it as tool for rapid outbreak suppression; rather, its predominant public health utility is to understand infection and transmission rates and patterns in a community or clusters.

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Jan, 2020

International Day of Education

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Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility

Today marks the second ever ‘International Day of Education’. The UNESCO led initiative is a celebration of the importance of education, its power to transform lives and communities, and its central role to the well-being of people and the planet.

Through coordinated events around the globe, people are encouraged to reflect on the key role that education plays in building sustainable and resilient societies – strengthening the potential for economic growth, promoting peace, reducing inequality and developing the professional skills needed for decent work and sustainable development.

A world leader in paediatric HIV education

A central theme of this year’s International Day of Education is looking at how learning can really empower people. Education is also key to our mission here at Penta. Since 2005, we have been pioneering innovative online and residential training courses for healthcare professionals in Europe and around the world, with a focus on low-middle income countries.

Our training platform ‘PentaTr@ining’ (formerly ‘Tr@inforPedHIV’) is an interactive course which continues to develop and evolve in response to the changing needs of children and young people living with HIV. We have devised patient–centred care educational content as part of our teaching model. Input from patient and advocacy groups, including the direct involvement of young people with HIV, is a vital element in shaping, designing and delivering the training courses, and this has increased successively with each course to date. Hearing the voices of young people with HIV themselves is an important part of the learning for delegates – it’s inspiring, motivating, provides a great platform, a sense of empowerment and is a truly unique experience for young people.

We are also acutely aware of the need to provide lasting benefit to HIV care in the regions we train beyond the duration of the teaching itself. We actively seek to involve local faculty members and encourage an open, informal teaching and learning environment, thus promoting capacity building and fostering meaningful and lasting collaborations. Indeed, feedback from previous training courses has shown lasting change in practice long after the training, highlighting the importance of the clinical support network Penta training delivers. Moreover, centres that have participated in training courses are now involved in ongoing research collaborations with Penta.

To date we have successfully carried out over 60 courses worldwide, with several others planned for the future. We have trained more than 4,000 healthcare workers and researchers from over 30 countries. Moving forward we aim expand our training programmes into other clinical areas of our research activity – continuing to widen our network more and more, and where it matters most.

2020 and beyond…

This year we are delighted to be relaunching our new and improved European edition of the training course: PentaTr@ining 2020: ‘HIV & other Congenital Infections’. We have carefully listened to participant feedback and have significantly tailored the course to the address the key issues that currently face paediatric infectious disease students and healthcare workers. The upgraded design of the online course promises to be more interactive and clinical case based, and this will be complemented by an exciting 3-day residential course in Rome, Italy. Enrollments for the course will be opening soon – so watch this space!

To find out more about Penta Training activities please contact us at:


Dec, 2019

Human Rights Day

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Today we celebrate Human’s Right Day: this year’s theme is “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights”.
School HIV-prevention campaigns in Africa are often designed to frighten children. However, we believe this should be done differently. By providing children with information about HIV we can help prevent fear and ensure children are educated.

Peer-support groups play an important role in providing children and adolescents with information they need about HIV.

Watch the full video by Picturing Health here.

#StandUp4HumanRights #HumanRightsDay


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