Senegalese Scientists Are Working With U.K. Lab On A 10-Minute Test For Coronavirus

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
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Senegalese scientists are working with a U.K. lab on a 10-minute test for the coronavirus that could cost as little as $1 to manufacture. A woman wearing a face mask walks at the Yaba Mainland hospital where an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on Tuesday from Milan on a business trip, the first case of the COVID-19 virus is being treated in Lagos, Nigeria on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Image: AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba

Coronavirus testing kits are being developed by Senegalese researchers for manufacture in Senegal that could cost $1 each and return results in as little as 10 minutes. 

This is the claim from a Senegalese lab that is working in partnership with U.K.-based laboratory Mologic and research firms from five other countries. 

Senegalese scientists at the Pasteur Institute of Dakar are helping to develop the handheld coronavirus test kit, according to The Washington Post.

The plan is for testing kits to be manufactured at DiaTropix, a new factory in Dakar, Senegal, custom-built for epidemics-related innovation, Bloomberg reports.

Being able to test cost-effectively without the need for electricity or laboratory analysis and receive results almost instantly could be a game-changer as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world at an incredible pace. 

Existing tests from 89 public health laboratories and a variety of private labs used in the U.S., such as New York State’s Wadsworth Laboratory, take between one to three days for results to come back.

Coronavirus tests from large lab-testing firms Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings and Quest Diagnostics Inc. cost between $50 and $100, Bloomberg reports.

There are now 446,000 infections globally in 196 countries. The COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 19,800.

Senegal is expected to begin producing the test kits in June. The cost of manufacturing the kit in Dakar has been kept under $1, according to the U.K. government.

The U.K. government has helped fund the partnership between the Senegalese and British labs with a $1.3 million grant.

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Mologic has previously created test kits for Ebola, measles and yellow fever. 

Prototypes of the Senegalese coronavirus test kit will be validated by specialists in the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the University of London, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the University of Malaya in Malaysia and Fiocruz in Brazil, according to Quartz.