KNUST, Incas develop Covid-19 test kit

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As the country continues to find different means to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic in the country, individuals, institutions and organisations have also been doing their part to support the government’s fight, coming up with different innovations geared at fighting the pandemic.

This week, scientists at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in collaboration with Incas Diagnostics, a diagnostic company in Kumasi, have developed a rapid diagnostic test kit for COVID-19.

The test kit, which is currently being assessed by the Food and Drugs Authority and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, is expected to enhance the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity.

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A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of KNUST, Dr Daniel Norris Bekoe, said, “the development of the RDT is in line with two of Ghana’s objectives in the fight against COVID-19; contain the spread of the virus, inspire the expansion of our domestic capability and deepen our self-reliance”

Efficiency

The university added that the locally developed test kit is capable of detecting asymptomatic cases, and requires little technical operation.

The device, likened to the homemade kit used in testing glucose or pregnancy, only needs a finger-prick drop from the individual, and “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 the infection”.

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The device is said to be able to run sample tests and takes just about 15-20 minutes to perform, helping tested people to know their status in a shorter time.

Regulation

The university says the COVID-19 RDT is still being optimised, adding that the “developers are currently engaging the Food and Drugs Authority for the necessary regulatory framework”.

“KNUST and Incas Diagnostics throughout the development have been in touch with the Ministry of Health and the National COVID-19 Response Team,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Food and Drugs Authority are expected to complete work on RDT kits for COVID-19 this week.

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The kits, when ready, according to Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, will augment current surveillance testing protocols.

“This week we are expecting Noguchi, the FDA and the experts to report on an RDT option to assist our surveillance. We are of the view that would help quicken an answer to the incidence rate in Ghana assuming that is the model that we want to add to our intervention,” he said.

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