Uganda: Makerere Approves Local COVID-19 Testing Kit

The Makerere University laboratory that was assessing the five-minute rapid testing kits manufactured by a Ugandan scientist, has cleared the innovation.

The country is struggling to procure coronavirus testing kits from foreign countries due to high global demand and disruption in the transportation system.

Pof Moses Joloba, the head of the Makerere laboratory that is based at the university's Medical School, told Daily Monitor yesterday that they completed the assessment and the report has been submitted to the ministry.

"We validated it [the rapid testing kit] and submitted it to the people [Ministry of Health] who requested it. Everything that comes here is totally confidential and we cannot discuss," he said.

Validation of kits involves assessment of sensitivity and precision in detecting the target virus or agent being tested.

Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State Minister for Primary Healthcare, last week said the ministry was still waiting for the validation report.

Attempts to get a comment from Dr Moriku on the validation report were futile by press time.

The detection kits detect both IgG (Immunoglobulin G) and (Immunoglobulin M) IgM.

Prof Vinand Nantulya, the manufacturer, said the IgM tests are like those from a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) machine and IgG detects if someone has been exposed to the coronavirus.

IgM test detects IgM antibodies, which is usually the first antibody produced by the immune system when a virus attacks.

"Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to an infection and are specific to that particular infection. IgM and IgG are the forms of the antibodies found in blood. IgG tests detect IgG antibodies that develop in most patients within seven to 10 days after symptoms of Covid-19 begin to manifest," he said.

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