UK-based Company Unveils 10-Minute Hand-held Kits to Test Coronavirus for Just $1

UTC by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
UK-based Company Unveils 10-Minute Hand-held Kits to Test Coronavirus for Just $1
Photo: Shutterstock

Taking into account the extremely fragile healthcare systems in Africa, the UK-based company Mologic has collaborated with Senegalese research foundation Institut Pasteur de Dakar to develop the COVID-19 hand-held testing kits.

The coronavirus pandemic has gripped the world population with massive fear over the last month. All medical representatives and authorities have been working really hard to find an antidote to the COVID-19. Besides, there’s a lack of infrastructure that allows people to test coronavirus considering the massive outbreak across the globe.

In the latest development, a UK-based company Mologic Ltd. has unveiled a new hand-held kit that can perform the coronavirus test in just under 10 minutes. For this project, the UK-based company collaborated with Senegalese research foundation Institut Pasteur de Dakar.

This project has been specifically launched in Africa which can help the locals to combat this deadly virus. Africa is popular for having one of the world’s most fragile healthcare ecosystems. Besides, the cost of the kit has been kept under $1 that will help the locals to cope up with the pandemic.

With the shortage of staff and resources, the authorities in Africa have been working to contain the spread of COVID-19. Africa accounts for only 1% of the global healthcare expenditure, however, it carries 23% of the disease burden. Every year, Africa reports thousands of deaths from HIV, Malaria, and tuberculosis.

Nearly 36 countries out of the 54 countries from the African continent have the capacity to test the coronavirus. However, any major spike in the cases can overwhelm the laboratories, as seen in other developed countries.

Faster and Cheaper Availability of Equipment to Test Coronavirus

The UK-based company Mologic has used the technology to test coronavirus from malaria and home pregnancy kits. The Saliva and finger-prick test kit can be ready as early as June 2020, and available just for $1. Usually, the laboratory process for testing Coronavirus can take several hours and costs $400 in private laboratories.

“We are ensuring that these tests are made accessible at the cost of manufacture,” said Joe Fitchett, medical director of Mologic. This U.K.-based company has also received a $1.2 million grant from the UK government to develop this test.

Senegal-based diagnostics manufacturing facility – diaTropix – shall be manufacturing these kits. Amadou Alpha Sall, the director of the Pasteur Institute, has been running this facility having received training around the continent for Coronavirus testing.

The good thing is that the spread of COVID-19 in Africa has been relatively slow in Africa. But just over the last week, the number of patients has surged in Senegal, Egypt, and South Africa. This has got the total number of cases to nearly 200 with a majority of them having travel history to Europe.

Mologic and the Institut Pasteur jointly can produce nearly 8 million tests a year. Besides, they can sell these tests directly to the African governments along with the WHO and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. Mologic is also planning to develop a manufacturing facility that can have 20 million tests annually.

On Sunday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that they have collaborated with Alibaba founder Jack Ma for providing anywhere between 10,000-20,000 test kits and nearly 100,000 masks per African country. Besides, the Ethiopia-based Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also plans to distribute 200,000 tests by the next week.

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