The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in collaboration with MakerSpace, UnternehmerTUM, Kumasi Hive Biolab and Incas Diagnostics have launched a project to develop and produce COVID-19 RNA Rapid Tests and strengthen local laboratory testing capacities.
The project dubbed “Development and Production of COVID-19 RNA Rapid Tests and Strengthening of Local laboratory Capacities” was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), GmbH in Ghana (GIZ Ghana).
The project seeks to develop simple, sensitive, rapid, scalable, and affordable Point of Care (PoC) test kits for detecting COVID-19 infection based on the reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal (RT-LAMP) reaction.
It further seeks to locally produce the enzymes needed for the LAMP assay and leverage it for other emerging and re-emerging diseases without the need to import expensive enzymes.
The KNUST project lead, Dr. Samuel Asamoah Sakyi, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Molecular Medicine explaining KNUST’s role reiterated that with the advent of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, it has become imperative to strengthen the molecular testing capacities in laboratories across Ghana.
He disclosed that KNUST’s role is key in achieving the overall objective of the project which is training initial 10 faculty and research assistants who will later train 100 medical laboratory scientists with the requisite knowledge to produce test kits and teach others on the use and production of these kits to strengthen laboratory capacity in rapid test development and production.
Dr Sakyi also noted that KNUST will further finalise the draft training curriculum of the workshop and use it to train both undergraduate and postgraduate students in molecular testing techniques.
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