South Africa has received a boost for its Covid-19 testing after local medical scientist Faith Koopa discovered a Covid-19 testing antigen. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)
South Africa has received a boost for its Covid-19 testing after local medical scientist Faith Koopa discovered a Covid-19 testing antigen. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Local scientist’s discovery gives Covid-19 testing a boost

By Sifiso Mahlangu Time of article published Mar 8, 2021

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Johannesburg - South Africa has received a boost for its Covid-19 testing after local medical scientist Faith Koopa discovered a Covid-19 testing antigen.

The antigen is part of Koopa’s rollout of 200 million coronavirus test kits across the country.

The laboratories involved, Pathology LabOne, are the first of their kind in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape and Midstream, near Pretoria. The laboratories are also manned by women doctors and scientists.

While 40 million coronavirus test kits have landed in South Africa from the US, the kits are a part of the 200 million ordered for a laboratory called Pathology LabOne from the US.

The test kits are part of 150 million kits ordered. They were purchased by Pathology LabOne in partnership with Prince Amon Moagi of the Bakgatla tribe in the North West, Africapacity Investment Group and Brawne Capital. The companies put in the first R100 million two weeks ago.

After the government admitted to shortages in testing – particularity in rural communities – the antigen was designed to test for Covid-19 and open the economy in parts where people are coronavirus-negative or have immunity to the virus.

Rapid diagnostic tests use the current technology to directly detect the presence or absence of antigens.

The antigens are connected to an analyser to deliver accurate results in approximately 15 minutes. The antigen is approved for use by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority. This rapid antigen test, unlike the rapid antibody tests, detects proteins that are part of the Sars-CoV-2 virus directly from clinical specimen.

The analyser is connected to the lab information system and will transmit results directly to a secure database to minimise human error and the risk of giving patients erroneous results. Within 30 minutes, patients will know if they have Covid or not.

“Our investment into LabOne is going to bring medical relief to South Africa,” Moagi said.

The Department of Health expressed congratulations to Koope and LabOne.

The Star

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