Cape Town, South Africa and the African continent can beam with pride after the announcement that the first African-based COVID-19 antigen testing kit has not only been approved but has stemmed from the labs and painstaking work of a team in Cape Town.
Ashley Uys, a 39-year-old from Belhar is the founder of the company Medical Diagnostech, established in 2010 as a developer and manufacturer of lateral flow rapid diagnostic test kits.
He and his team of 9 others, which consist of six scientists and four technicians, worked painstakingly on the project of the rapid test development for the last 18 months. They finally received approval from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) for the product’s distribution.
“We will now be the first African manufacturers of this antigen test,” Uys noted as per IOL, as everything else in the market currently is not from Africa.
The tests will mean that South Africa and many countries in our greater region and continent will no longer need to rely on imports of rapid antigen testing kits.
The test will lead results to come to light in a mere 15 minutes. A PCR test, which does remain the “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing, only reflects results in 48-hours, as Daily Maverick reports.
The tests will range from R30-35, meaning that they offer a path to further accessibility for lower-income communities.
Additionally, as the requirement of COVID-19 tests results have become paramount for many events, the rapid antigen testing kit will help in saving time and easing backlog congestion that an increase in the volume of COVID-19 test results perpetuate.
It’s also a proud moment for Africa. As Uys notes indicating that there are African solutions for problems that impact Africa.
Home kits from Uys’ company are currently awaiting approval, and the company is also busy developing an app for smartphones to interpret results from the testing device.
The testing is set to run through the national government.
More than 50% of the adults in the Western Cape have been vaccinated
Picture: News Medica