By: Harriet Adong,
March 17th, 2021 saw Makerere University’s Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology, College of Health Sciences (CHS) launch the homegrown COVID-19 Rapid Antibody Test Kits.
The COVID-19 Rapid Antibody Test Kits developed domestically aim to address challenges related to affordability/cost using imported items, promote research and innovation in the health field
This project was spearheaded by Dr. Misaki Wayengera, Director Biomedical Research at the Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University. He is also the Chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Committee on the COVID-19 Taskforce in the Ministry of Health.
Explaining the advantages of the project, Dr. Wayengera said “Makerere University has developed an affordable (costing less than US $1), easy to use (requiring minimal expertise, user guide), rapid (yielding results within 2-5 minutes) point of care test platform for COVID-19 suited for use within remote equatorial African settings. the cost of testing currently standing at USD 65, which is prohibitive for developing countries like Uganda.’’.
The Test Kit involves using a swab-tube dipstick to do an antigen test by use of a nasal sample. With this quick test, once the nasopharyngeal sample is obtained, it is placed back into its tube containing reagents that detect the virus surface protein.
Hon. Dr. Elioda Tuwesigye, Minister of Science Technology and Innovation in Uganda said “It is through research that we garner additional knowledge to enable us to be and remain creative. Embracing Research and Innovation is the way to go if we are to realize development in our country, Africa and the globe’’.
His Excellency Jules-Armand Aniambossou, French Ambassador in his remarks noted “Uganda’s response to COVID-19 was and is strong, immediate ad efficient. We need to learn from Uganda. Uganda can compete globally. Well done Scientists, he said as he officially launched the homegrown COVID-19 Rapid antibody Test Kits’’.
The writer is the Mak-RIF Communications Officer