Ghanaian diagnostic company, Incas Diagnostics and a top university, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology have partnered to develop a Covid-19 test kit that gives results quickly.
According to the two institutions, validation has started for the Covid-19 rapid test kit, awaiting approval from Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority.
Called the ‘COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test‘ the device requires little technical training for those performing the test.
A statement from the KNUST said “the test which takes 15-20 minutes to perform, would enable those tested to know their results in a shorter time to enable decision making in real time by health authorities.”
The test would largely been carried out “using a finger-prick blood and in lateral flow format, similar to blood glucose test or home pregnancy test, detects two different types of of antibodies produced by the body to fight off covid-10 infection about 7 days after infection and also in those who have been exposed to the virus but showing any symptoms or recovered from infection.”
Prior to this tests conducted in Ghana have largely been molecular diagnostics; polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which detects part of the viral genome very early in infection and takes at least 48 hours from testing to results.
The developers of the latest test kit say the old system delays contact tracing and other efforts to fight the virus.
The KNUST statement said “The PCR tests are also unable to identify people who have been infected and recovered.”
It said the “KNUST/Incas RDT detects asymptomatic cases, enables decentralized testing to be done anywhere without requiring any equipment.”
Congratulations to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Incas Diagnostics for developing a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for COVID-19. This RDT produces results in 15-20 minutes.
So proud of our Ghanaian Scientists for this breakthrough. pic.twitter.com/VJ4mR1E1Ip
— Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia (@MBawumia) April 28, 2020
The two institutions said they have always been in touch with Ghana’s health ministry, the national Covid-19 response team about this new test kit.
They hope this helps in containing the spread of the virus and adds to Ghana’s domestic capabilities to depend on itself to fight the pandemic.
Ghana is however among the leading countries in Africa to have conducted more tests related to the coroanvirus.
The country’s confirmed case count has surpassed 1,555 as at April 27, 2020.