Kenya approves 20-minute COVID-19 testing kit

A doctor dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) prepares a swab to test a patient for Covid-19 at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, April 24, 2020. The East African country enforced a curfew as part of measures to reduce the risk of contagion amid fears that Covid-19 patients will overrun its health system. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images


A health worker dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a nasopharyngeal swab sample from a resident during a Covid-19 testing drive at Olympic Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Kenyan Ministry of Health has authorized a Hong Kong-based company to supply the East African nation with new COVID-19 test kits designed to deliver results within 20 minutes.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Nation on Monday, Dr. Ricky Chiu Yin-to, the CEO and founder of PHASE Scientific, the company producing the kits, said the kit costs between Sh800 and Sh1,000.

“We have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization as well and our goal is to help low-income countries like Kenya test more for coronavirus,” he said, adding that the price is negotiable when dealing with governments.

“We are happy that Kenya is the first country in Africa to embrace us and we look forward to partnering with more governments,” he said.

The firm says the kit is currently available in 33 countries.

Testing for coronavirus involves inserting a cotton bud-like swab into the cavity between the nose and mouth (nasopharyngeal swab) for 15 seconds and rotating it several times.

The swabbing is then repeated in the mouth to make sure enough material is collected.

Kenya has conducted 2.3 million tests as of August 30.

Original article published on Daily Nation