The ability of countries to roll out rapid diagnostic tests, or being able to vaccinate as many people as possible is being touted as the ultimate solution to the current Coronavirus outbreak.
But with a vaccine still some months or years away, offering rapid testing solutions is now seen as the priority for countries as they try to re-open their economies and to take lives back to normality.
For Africa and indeed other parts of the world, testing for Coronavirus remains out of reach because of the high cost of the available test kits.
President Yoweri Museveni told the nation recently that Uganda is unable to roll out the Coronavirus testing to the wider public because a single test at the moment, he said, costs up to 65 US dollars.
Now however, this is about to change. Institute Pasteur, the research laboratory in Senegal’s capital Dakar, is working with UK firm Mologic Ltd, and the UK government to develop a $1 test kit for Coronavirus.
Mologic will spearhead the development of the testkit while the UK government will fund the exercise to ensure that its affordable for most people in Africa.
According to news-medical.net, the testkit has successfully passed the validation test by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George’s, University of London. It will enable frontline health workers to spot COVID-19 patients before they show symptoms.
Institut Pasteur has used its experience in handling of Ebola and Zika viruses. According to BBC, the institute developed both the Ebola and the Zika virus test kits before the diseases became global problems.
BBC has also reported that the laboratory is working with up to 35 countries to be able to manufacture rapid diagnostic test kits for Coronavirus so that Africa isn’t reliant on western countries.
Prof. Amadou Sall, the Director, Institue Pasteur, in Dakar Senegal told BBC that: “I think it’s extremely important to be independent and autonomous in this regard because the strategy of the international health regulations is to make sure that the disease is contained at source. Africa, with weak health systems sometimes has a challenge of detecting diseases early. And then protecting not only their own community but also the rest of the world.