For the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak began, Africa may be poised to reshape rapid testing for the virus on the continent.
The Pasteur Institute, a biomedical research center based in Senegal’s capital city of Dakar, says it is close to producing an affordable, handheld Covid-19 diagnostic test kit that can give results in a matter of minutes.
The institute is running a new venture called DiaTropix, which has been working in partnership with five research organizations since March, including Mologic in the UK, to create the test kit.
Amadou Sall, director of the Pasteur Institute and DiaTropix, told CNN that the biomedical center hopes the kit will cost as little as $1 to purchase.
“This is a very simple technology, like a pregnancy test that you can use everywhere at the community level, which is important for Africa,” he said.
According to Mologic, this rapid test kit does not require electricity or need laboratory analysis.
Instead, it consists of a simple test strip housed in a plastic unit and uses a small blood sample collected by pricking a finger, much like tools used to test insulin. The blood is tested for coronavirus-related antibodies, and the result is shown on the test strip.