Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, says it has developed a fast test kit for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which has brought world economies to almost a standstill.
The West African country said the Covid-19 test kit can give results in less than 40 minutes, adding that it can also be used by low-skilled people.
The Minister of State for Health, Olurunimbe Mamora, said it is much faster and 10 times cheaper than the PCR testing method currently in use in the country.
The kit is yet to be approved by regulatory bodies but has raised hopes of boosting the country’s low testing rate.
Nigeria has been importing key elements needed for coronavirus testing.
The authorities said the test kit, known as SARS-COV-2 Isothermal Molecular Assay, was developed by Nigeria’s Institute of Medical Research.
The Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, told a media briefing that the kit was Nigeria’s contribution to the global fight against the pandemic through scientific research.
The health authorities said the test kits will be distributed soon to communities – after a validation process – to boost testing across the country.
Nigeria has so far tested just over 500,000 people out of its population of around 200 million.
It has recorded more than 58,000 coronavirus cases with more than 1,000 deaths. The number of daily confirmed infections is declining.
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