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A group of scientists at the Department of Pathology of Makerere University, who manufactured the Ebola testing kit earlier this year have announced they are working round the clock to avail rapid testing kits for coronavirus by the end of April.

Dr Misaki Wayengera, the lead researcher at the Department of Pathology at Makerere University, said that the team started working on the kit in February.

“The test uses a joint platform where you get a swab from the nose or mouth, put it in the tube, shake and get results,” he said.

The scientist said unlike the current testing that require complex machine, the one being developed uses a small tube and can be used in remote upcountry hospitals.

“We took up the mandate to develop the kit because people were bothering us. We already identified some proteins that will work and we are testing them” said Dr. Misaki said

Dr Misaki added that, the group was working with a French partner because they have the expertise to do it. He added that a lot of money is being put in vaccine development but they have not put diagnostics as priority.

Asked what the price of the kits would be, Dr Misaki said the cost will be around shs.4000 each. Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the Director of Uganda Virus Institute, the institution manning Covid-19 testing, said government was also working to decentralise testing in upcountry health facilities.


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Martin T.

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