Coronavirus: African university develops rapid diagnostic test kits

Coronavirus: African university develops rapid diagnostic test kits

- The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Incas Diagnostics have developed a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for Covid-19

- The new Rapid Diagnostic Test takes 15-20 minutes to perform and can identify infected persons who are not even showing symptoms of Covid-19

- RDT also has the potential to help identify recovered patients

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The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and a Kumasi-based diagnostic company, Incas Diagnostics, have invented a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) to aid in the fight against the coronavirus.

In a statement released by the KNUST Public Relations Officer, Daniel Norris, the Rapid Covid-19 diagnostic test will serve as a complimentary product to the current Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing for the novel coronavirus.

According to him, the new product is in line with two of Ghana’s objectives as the country grapples with Covid-19; to contain the spread of the virus, inspire the expansion of domestic capability and deepen self-reliance.

Explaining the details, he said:

"The serological tests which use a finger-prick blood and in lateral flow format, similar to blood glucose test or home pregnancy test, detects two different types of antibodies produced by the body to fight off the Covid-19 infection about seven days after infection and also in those who have been exposed to the virus but not showing any symptoms (asymptomatic) or recovered from infection.''

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Ghana currently uses molecular diagnostics; Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to detect parts of the viral genome for early infection and it takes at least 48 hours for testing to results.

This process potentially delays contact tracing and other efforts in the fight against the coronavirus.

Dr Norris emphasised that the new invention can easily identify infected persons who are not even showing the symptoms.

“The device requires little technical training for those performing the test.’’

According to him, the test takes 15-20 minutes to perform which would enable those tested to know their results in a shorter time to enable decision making in real-time by health authorities.

Dr Daniel Norris further stressed that the RDT will be suitable for mass testing to identify people who have been exposed to the virus.

This advanced process will help provide key data for efforts to model the course of the pandemic and also, enhance contact tracing efforts.

RDT also has the potential to help identify recovered patients in the future who ''could then donate their SARS-CoV-2 antibody-rich serum to help treat critically ill patients as is being done in some countries.''

Dr Norris noted that the Ministry of Health and the National Covid-19 Response Team have been duly informed of the development.

Also, he disclosed that the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) is currently being engaged for the necessary regulatory framework.

Dr Norris acknowledged the contributions of scientists from the Departments of Clinical Microbiology, Medical Diagnostics, Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) and Incas Diagnostics for working tirelessly on the new invention.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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