Scientists welcome 100,000 rapid COVID-19 antibody test kits

The test kits, used to detect whether a person has had exposure to the coronavirus before, is valued at around R25 million.

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Local scientists said a donation of 100,000 rapid COVID-19 antibody test kits was a major push for research and development seeking to answer questions around the coronavirus. These Orient Gene Rapid Antibody Test Kits have been approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.

The tests are used to detect whether a person has had exposure to the coronavirus before, which differs from a PCR test which shows if an individual is currently infected. The consignment of antibody test kits, valued at around R25 million, was donated by the Alpha and Omega MedTech company. Senior Programme Manager at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Zoleka Ngcete, said the tests will mostly be used for research purposes within the SAHPRA licensing framework.

“The primary purpose of the tests really is for them to be used for research purposes by the SAMRC but also by researchers that conducting COVID-19 related research,” she said.

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