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Francisca S. Adomako is the Chief Technology Officer at Incas Diagnostics, a startup that has developed a rapid diagnostics test for COVID-19.

Diagnostic start-up, KNUST Develop Rapid COVID-19 Test

Test developed by Incas Diagnostics detects COVID-19 antibodies in 20 minutes

A diagnostic start-up out of Ghana Tech Lab has developed a rapid test that detects COVID-19 antibodies. The Foundation has been supporting Incas Diagnostics and following their work on this project closely. The test, that Incas developed with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), aligns with Ghana’s priorities in the fight against COVID-19: containing the spread of the virus and increasing Ghana’s self-reliance.

Francisca S. Adomako, Incas’ Chief Technology Officer, discusses the breakthrough.

How long have you been working on developing the COVID-19 rapid diagnostic test?

Incas has been working on a rapid test for COVID-19 since the beginning of February.

How long do you have to wait for results and how accurate is the test?

It takes 15 to 20 minutes to get results with the test. We are currently at the point where we are going through the regulatory processes with the food and drugs authority of the country and so the issue of accuracy is in their hands as they will determine that through their analysis. We will know for sure after they have completed their assessments.

The test tells you whether you’re infected. Does it also tell you whether you’ve previously been infected and recovered?

The test, being antibody based, is able to detect the infections once the body starts producing  antibodies in response to the virus, therefore for as long as these antibodies remain the blood, the test will be able to detect it.

Assuming you receive the relevant approvals from regulatory bodies, how does Incas plan to distribute this test?

We plan to distribute the tests through pharmaceutical distributors. The tests will also be manufactured and sold at cost.

Are you planning to make the test available beyond Ghana?

Yes, we have already had contact with individuals and organizations outside the country who are interested in the work we do and would want us to expand and make available the tests in their respective countries.

What is next for Incas?

We are currently waiting on the FDA for approval concerning the COVID-19 test kit, seeing the regulatory and validation processes through is the next big thing for us in relation to this particular test. We also intend to expand to other countries on the continent in the years ahead with the other tests on our product list.

How do you feel about being involved with this project?

Excited! It has been a wonderful and exciting journey and the learning process has been more than great. The entire team is very excited about how far we have come with what started out only as an idea. It makes me particularly happy to be involved in something this productive and of this magnitude, something that will in one way or the other make an impact in the lives of people and possibly change the narrative on science in Africa.  I am really glad I got the opportunity to work on this team. It has of course not been an easy sailing, but the result is definitely worth the time and effort.