The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) together with a diagnostic company, Incas Diagnostics in Kumasi, have developed Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) for COVID-19 testing.
According to a statement issued by the University’s Relations Officer, Dr Daniel Norris, the product will complement the current Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing which will boost the fight against the pandemic in the country.
“These serological tests which use a finger-prick blood and in lateral flow format, similar to blood glucose test or home pregnancy test, detects two different types of antibodies produced by the body to fight off the Covid-19 infection about 7 days after infection and also in those who have been exposed to the virus but not showing any symptoms (asymptomatic) or recovered from infection,” he explained.
Dr Norris further added that: “Current molecular diagnostics; Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which is being used in the country detects parts of the viral genome very early in infection and takes at least 48 hours from testing to results; potentially delaying contact tracing and other efforts.”
Dr Norris indicated that the new innovation can easily identify infected persons who are not even showing the symptoms.
“The device requires little technical training for those performing the test. 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,” he said.
The KNUST PRO further highlighted that, the RDT will be suitable for mass testing to identify people who have been exposed to the virus.
The Ministry of Health and the National Covid-19 Response Team have been duly informed of the development, Dr Norriss noted.
Adding that, the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) is currently being engaged for the necessary regulatory framework.