Daniel Ndima and Dineo Lioma the two South Africans and techprenuers have developed a smart COVID-19 testing kit that provides results in just 65 minutes. The pair are Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellows and heads of Cape Bio, a dynamic applied genomics company and spin-off of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
The invention which came at the right time will prove crutial in South Africa’s fight against the pandemic. South Africa has so far recorded 3,300 confirmed cases of covid-19 with 58 deaths and 1,055 recoveries.
Named qCPR, the development of locally produced qCPR test kits would reduce the need for foreign imports and allow for a faster testing process among the population. Ndima added: “Our kits help pathologists isolate and identify a virus’ DNA or genetic material from an infected person. This makes it possible to detect the virus accurately in a laboratory.”
The testing kits is already being hailed by many south africans as a massive breakthrough in South Africa’s campaign against the covid-19. South Africa is Africa’s number one nation in testing for infected persons.
“One of our major challenges is our reliance on imported tests. Most countries are currently experiencing issues with supply and demand, which their respective governments are controlling with newly introduced trade regulations. This has caused delays in the delivery of imported testing kits and protective gears, and may impact on the delivery of vaccines once they have passed clinical trials.”
“The ability to obtain rapid test results allows us to gain a clearer picture of viral infections so that we are able to introduce interventions with greater effectiveness. This will remain important even after lockdown, as South Africa has a population of over 55 million people who will need to be monitored on an ongoing basis,” Ndima added.
Ndima also said qCPR test kits help pathologists isolate and identify a virus DNA or genetic material from an infected person. “This makes it possible to detect the virus accurately in a laboratory,” he stated.
As a locally manufactured product, the qCPR will mitigate the country’s over-reliance on overseas imports, ensuring that testing reagents could be accessed quickly and without a wait. They are also more affordable than international products.