Locally produced test kits hoped to fast-track SA’s fight against COVID

Dr Blade Nzimande said ensuring tests were conducted speedily was more important than ever as SA grappled with the third wave.

Corona rapid test kits. AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Dr Blade Nzimande said on Sunday that the local manufacture of COVID-19 rapid test kits would help fast-track South Africa’s 17 month-long fight against the global pandemic.

This came after the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority gave the go-ahead for PCR test kits to be developed in the country.

READ: Latest COVID figures paint a grim picture for South Africa

This will be done by Centurion-based biotech company, CapeBio and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

CapeBio aimed to produce up to 5,000 kits every day with each kit equaling 1,000 tests.

The first batch of kits was scheduled to be available before the end of August.

READ: SAHPRA gives go-ahead for local manufacture of COVID rapid test kits

Nzimande said ensuring tests were conducted speedily was more important than ever as the country continues to grapple with the third wave.

He explained that the pandemic had shown how difficult it was for developing countries to compete with richer nations for access to life-saving interventions.

To date, South Africa has had to rely on imports.

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