The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Incas Diagnostics, a diagnostic company in Kumasi, have created a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kit to help test for the novel coronavirus.
According to a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of KNUST, Dr. Daniel Norris Bekoe, the creation of the test kit is in line with Ghana’s objectives in the fight against the coronavirus, specifically to “contain the spread of the virus, inspire the expansion of domestic capability and deepen self-reliance”.
The device, likened to the homemade kit used in testing glucose or pregnancy, only needs a finger-prick drop of blood from the individual and “detects two different types of antibodies produced by the body to fight off the COVID-19 infection about seven days after infection and also in those who have been exposed to the virus but not showing any symptoms (asymptomatic) or recovered from the infection”.
According to the statement, the testing process with this kit takes just about 15-20 minutes to perform, and “would enable those tested to know their results in a shorter time to enable decision making in real-time by health authorities”.
The COVID-19 RDT is however still being optimised and its “developers are currently engaging the Food and Drugs Authority for the necessary regulatory framework”.
Meanwhile, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Food and Drugs Authority are expected to complete work on RDT kits for COVID-19 this week.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday, the Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the RDTs, when ready, will augment current surveillance testing protocols.
He said, “This week we are expecting Noguchi, the FDA and the experts to report on an RDT option to assist our surveillance. We are of the view that would help quicken an answer to the incidence rate in Ghana assuming that is the model that we want to add to our intervention.”