Unlike Europe and North America, Africa still has the opportunity to contain its coronavirus outbreaks and protect its fragile healthcare systems.
Thanks to an ingenious pocket-sized test kit which will be largely manufactured in Senegal, comprehensive preventative testing could be commonplace in every African country within a few months.
Working with UK-based rapid diagnostics company Mologics, a Dakar-based diagnostics manufacturing facility will soon be producing 8 million tests a year for African governments, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the WHO.
The finger-prick tests will use saliva to test for virus antigens and blood to test for the virus antibodies. If a line appears on the test, the patient has tested positive for the coronavirus, similar to how a pregnancy test works.
It will cost $1 and only take ten minutes to administer at home, without requiring a clinician or a nurse.
Senegal has the best rate of recovery for coronavirus patients in Africa and the third best in the world, ahead of the United States and France.
Image: A worker in a secure laboratory researches the coronavirus at Dakar’s Institut Pasteur © Seyllou/AFP/Getty