Last Updated on March 18, 2020

Mologic and Senegal to develop a hand-held coronavirus test kit

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A UK-based laboratory, Mologic is working with scientists in Senegal to make a diagnostic test for coronavirus that can produce test results within 10 minutes.

In a statement by Mologic announcing the UK-funded initiative, the handheld device is going to be the first diagnostic kit developed in the UK to be jointly manufactured in Africa.

The laboratory said it was working with the Pasteur Institute in Dakar and five international research organizations to authenticate the test kits that will be produced by DiaTropix, a manufacturing facility also in Senegal.

UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the lab last week and announced a £46 million fund ($58 million) for British experts to find vaccines and develop test kits to fight the coronavirus pandemic and prevent future outbreaks of the virus.

Mologic said it received a £1 million (about $1.3 million USD) from the fund to make a rapid test kit that works without electricity and does not need a laboratory analysis to give results for coronavirus. The test kit would make it easier for health workers to detect cases and place people under quarantine quickly.

Mologic Medical Director Joe Fitchett said diagnostic tools that can be used at home and in low resource areas need to be deployed to bring the current outbreak to an end.

The UK government in a separate statement announcing the fund said a rapid test would be beneficial in low-income countries where accurate testing for coronavirus posed a challenge.

The statement added that many people in these countries were left unchecked, a situation it said could increase the local and international spread of the virus.

Patrick Vallance, the UK chief scientific officer said rapid testing is going to be key to managing the coronavirus outbreak, but ultimately vaccines are going to provide the long-term protection.

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