April 22, 2020

COVID-19 Results in 5 minutes! Makerere University Hospital set to conduct tests


Kampala – Uganda’s Makerere University has, on Tuesday, April 21, revealed plans for the University hospital to conduct COVID-19 testing

While delivering the good news, Vice-Chancellor Prof Barnabus Nawangwe has revealed that the university had received 40,000 COVID-19 testing kits through their research collaboration with Case Western Reserve University in the United States.

“We are developing an affordable – costing less than US$ 1 (approx UGX 3,700), easy to use (requiring minimal expertise, user guide), rapid (yielding results within 2-5 minutes) POC test platform for COVID19 suited for use within remote equatorial African settings,” he said.

“The swab-tube dipstick agglutination (STDS-AgX) SARS-CoV2 antigen test will utilize the nasopharyngeal sample collection swab, which is placed back into its tube containing reagents that detect the virus surface protein. On shaking, a positive result will be visualized as the formation of particles (equivalent to what is seen when clear milk, goes bad),” Prof. Nawangwe asserted.

Prof. Nawangwe boasted of Makerere University’s long tradition of responding to health emergencies and epidemics citing that the institution was at the forefront of the response to HIV/Aids and Ebola, and sustained that the College of Health Sciences has built an internationally recognises reputation to respond to emerging diseases

He added that the team from college of health sciences, college of engineering and technology, Resilient Africa Network and kiira motors developed a low cost ventilator.

“The team successfully conducted an engineering test of the ventilator on April 10, 2020, and it is now undergoing various validation tests before applying to the National Drug Authority and other certifying agencies for use on patients,” he said.

Mr Nawangwe further noted that the ventilator will considerably lower the cost of this very important facility from the current cost on the open international market, which ranges between USD 25,000 and 60,000.

“Development of the ventilator, which will cost approximately USD 5,000 is expected to be completed in the next four to eight weeks,” he revealed.

Prof Nawangwe highlighted that new development would see a cost-effective response to pandemics even beyond exponential stages.

“These home-grown assay platforms will enable Uganda and other African settings cost-effectively respond to the COVID19 pandemic. This, particularly as the pandemic, enters the exponential phase in many countries when many cases will emerge, and yet tests are scarce on the global scene,” revealed Prof Nawangwe.

Ministry of Health, on Tuesday April 21, confirmed 1 new case of the 1,019 samples tested to bring the number of COVID-19 cases to 61

“The new case is a 32-year-old Kenyan truck driver who arrived from Kenya at Malaba border.” read part of the Tweet by the Health Ministry official Twitter account

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