Headlines are sweeping with coronavirus concerns, cancellations, and precautions. While people are self-quarantining for their own safety, Senegal is taking the lead on providing rapid diagnostic tests for the virus.
CNN reported that Senegal has partnered with a U.K.-based laboratory called Mologic to develop hand-held tests for coronavirus that produces results in only ten minutes.
“This will be the first handheld diagnostic kit collaboratively developed in the UK and jointly manufactured in Africa,” Mologic said in a statement.
They also shared in their statement that these rapid tests will be especially beneficial in low-income countries where accuracy for testing has proven to be a challenge.
“Rapid detection of the virus is important to stop its spread — we are pleased that the UK government has acknowledged this, supporting Mologic and the work of our partners to prevent further outbreaks internationally,” Mologic Medical Director Joe Fitchett said.
CNN also reported the laboratory is working with the Pasteur Institute in Dakar and five other international research organizations to authenticate these test kits being produced by DiaTropix, a manufacturing facility located in Senegal. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the lab last week and announced that $58 million would be used to help experts continue to discover more vaccinations and continue developing test kits to fight against the pandemic.
So far, Mologic has shared that they’ve received close to $1.3 million from the said fund to develop these kits, quickly, efficiently, and without the use of electricity or lab analysis, thus making it possible for health workers to detect the virus early and quarantine people faster. Fitchett stated that the tests could be used at home and in low-resource areas in need of these tools to help end the outbreak. People in these low-resource areas could benefit the most from the rapid tests to decrease the local and international spread of the virus.
“Rapid testing is going to be key to managing this outbreak, but ultimately vaccines are going to provide the long-term protection we need,” Patrick Vallance, the U.K. Government chief scientific officer, said.
Senegal and U.K.’s efforts are a valuable resource during this hectic time and will only improve our attempts at putting a stop to coronavirus as a pandemic.