KNUST scientists develop rapid diagnostic test kits for COVID-19

The entire globe has been in a state of emergency for almost five months now. The novel Coronavirus has brought almost all activities to a standstill.

In the wake of this pandemic, there have been shortages with regards to Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in numerous locations all over the world.

In the true sense of the adage “necessity is the mother of invention”, Ghana like any other country has seen a spark of innovation among its citizenry. The academic institutions are at it as well as individual businesses, dressmakers and tailors pulling their weight to fill the gap in the production of PPEs and other essential equipment for the combat of this pandemic.

The nation’s two premier public universities, KNUST and Legon, have launched various initiatives all in lieu of contributing their quota to this national and indeed global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The spate of innovation from these two public universities is subtly brewing a sort of challenge which has long been the order of the day for these two universities.

Earlier on in the day, a profound personality in the Ghanaian public space made assertions of a lead on information that suggests some scientists from KNUST have developed a test kit which has supposedly been submitted to the FDA for a quality check and approval.  Mr. Gabby Otchere-Darko asserted that;

“My information is that scientists at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST) have developed a test kit for COVID-19, which is currently before the FDA for quality check and approval before it goes to Noguichi for efficacy test and approval. Fingers crossed…”

Meanwhile, according to, these feet was achieved together with Incas Diagnostics, also based in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.

Scientists from the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR, a major testing centres for Covid-19 in Ghana, made significant inputs into the development.

The researchers at the two collaborating institutions explain that the current method of testing for Covid-19 in Ghana (from Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR) detects parts of the viral genome very early in infection and takes at least 48 hours from testing to results

However, the KNUST-Incas Diagnostic kit detects asymptomatic cases, enables decentralised testing to be done anywhere without requiring any technical assistance.

“The device also requires little technical training for those performing the test,” Dr. Daniel Norris Bekoe, University Relations Officer at KNUST, explains in a press release.

He said the test takes 15 to 20 minutes to perform and will enable people anxious to know the status get their results in a shorter time to enable decision making in real-time.

KNUST and Incas Diagnostics are currently engaging the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) for the necessary regulatory framework

Having gone through the necessary guides, it would be another stride for KNUST in its many contributions to the health system in its combat against the pandemic at hand. From hand sanitizers to locally made ventilators and with approval of this assertion, a test kit, KNUST is proving its worth as the nation’s premier science and Technology University.

The pandemic has brought out the ingenuity of Ghanaians and the power of collective effort, be it a university or from individuals, Ghana is proud to have our own at the forefront of the combat against this global pandemic.


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