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Ten-Minute Coronavirus Test For $1 Could Be Game Changer

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Already exhausted from testing for monkeypox and Lassa fever, Nigerian molecular bio-engineer Nnaemeka Ndodo had to work well past midnight earlier this month to find out if six Chinese construction workers were infected with the coronavirus. Ndodo had to collect samples from a hospital an hour away in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, then wait for six hours to get the results in what’s one of only five laboratories able to test for the virus in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, with about 200 million people. In about three months’ time, U.K.-based Mologic Ltd., in collaboration with Senegalese research foundation Institut Pasteur de Dakar, could shorten that wait to 10 minutes with a test that will help a continent with the world’s most fragile healthcare system cope with the pandemic.

Using technology from home pregnancy and malaria tests, its saliva and finger-prick kit could be ready for sale by June for less than $1 apiece. In Africa, they will be manufactured in Senegal by diaTropix, a newly built diagnostics manufacturing facility run by the director of the Pasteur Institute, Amadou Alpha Sall, who has led training around the continent for coronavirus testing. The current Covid-19 tests, known as PCR tests, detect the genetic material of the pathogen in a laboratory process that can take several hours and cost over $400 in some private facilities. Mologic and the Institut Pasteur have joint capacity to produce 8 million tests a year and plan to sell them directly to African governments as well as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the WHO, Fitchett said. Mologic is seeking to acquire a manufacturing facility to produce an additional 20 million tests annually, initially in the U.K. and later in Africa.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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