ICGEB Trieste, Italy is pleased to announce that it is coordinating a project to bring SARS-CoV-2 testing materials from New England BioLabs (NEB®) to countries in need in Africa, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
A critical issue in the current Covid19 pandemic is access to sufficient and affordable diagnostics. New England BioLabs, founded in the mid-1970s by scientists committed to developing innovative products for the life sciences, is a recognized world leader in the discovery, development, and commercialization of reagents for genomic research. NEB has developed a rapid and cost-effective colourimetric assay that can detect the presence of pathogen DNA or RNA in low resource and field settings in approximately 30 minutes compared to the usual 2.5 hours.
ICGEB, an Intergovernmental Organisation with 65 Member States, more than 20 of which are in Africa, has brought together laboratories in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria to take part in a pilot study to assess the efficacy of this novel diagnostic in the four different countries and in diverse rural settings.
ICGEB is coordinating the supply chain to Africa from Italy and providing technical expertise and know-how and assisting in the design and coordination of the study.
If successful, the intention is to expand this project to other countries across Africa with New England BioLabs committing to initially provide the reagents and technology at no cost. If successful, the partners will work to make both the reagents and technology available more widely in a sustainable manner.