By Aimee Pace for CapeTown ETC
Local company CapeBio is at the front line in the fight against coronavirus, leading the way with their new qPCR kits that are able to produce results in more than half the time of others.
Testing is critical in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. Led by Allan Gray Fellows Daniel Ndima and Dineo Lioma, CapeBio has answered the challenge with a kit providing results in just 65 minutes compared to other tests which take roughly three hours to produce results.
Faster testing times means that scientists and doctors will be able to conduct tests and assist patients more easily.
This is why the qPCR kits developed by CapeBio are hailed as a massive breakthrough, with critical implications for the country’s ability to weather the current crisis.
Daniel Ndima, CEO of CapeBio says, “The ability to obtain rapid test results allows us to gain a clearer picture of viral infections, so that we are able to introduce interventions with greater effectiveness.” This will remain important even after lockdown, as South Africa has a population of over 55-million people who will need to be monitored on an ongoing basis.
According to Ndima, CapeBio responded with their latest innovation after massive disruptions were experienced throughout South Africa as a result of the virus.
“One of our major challenges is our reliance on imported tests,” he explains. “Most countries are currently experiencing issues with supply and demand, which their respective governments are controlling with newly introduced trade regulations. This has caused delays in the delivery of imported testing kits and protective gears, and may impact on the delivery of vaccines once they have passed clinical trials.”
CapeBio has long had a reputation in their field for being reliable, innovative and resourceful. Their latest tests will assist in more accurately identifying the virus in a shorter time span.
“Our kits help pathologists isolate and identify a virus’s DNA or genetic material from an infected person. This makes it possible to detect the virus accurately in a laboratory.”
Validation by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority is still needed before they can be introduced to the broader user base, including private use and public labs.
“The tests still had to be reformulated, validated and certified by this body for diagnostics of other diseases caused by deadly pathogens such as HIV, TB, malaria and genetic related diseases,” Ndima informs. “We were looking into formulating our current products for these purposes, amongst others.”
As a locally manufactured product, the qPCR could mitigate this reliance on overseas imports, ensuring that testing reagents could be accessed quickly and without a wait. They are also more affordable than international products.