Nigerian biotech company, 54Gene has secured a $500,000 (N185 million) COVID-19 testing fund. It provided $150 and called for donors to help raise more funds. The money is for purchasing testing instruments, bio-safety cabinets, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies for the health workers at the fore of COVID-19 testing in the country.
Union Bank, one of the apex financial institutions in the country, and other partners contributed towards raising the total.
Dr Abasi Ene-Obong founded 54Gene in 2019. The company aims to build the largest biobank for African genetic material in the world. Its mission is to help scientists use DNA information to detect diseases and produce the right drugs for Africans.
There are currently 65 confirmed cases and one recorded death as a result of coronavirus in Nigeria. According to a press release by the company, the fund will boost the number of tests carried out for COVID-19 by additional 1000 per day.
54Gene will be working with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and other stakeholders to purchase the necessary materials and to carry out more tests across the country. The equipment will be installed in public hospitals and laboratories and will remain there even after the outbreak in case of future cases.
The company is in talks with other Nigerian institutes to raise more funds to conduct 50000 tests per day. 54Gene plans to minimize the spread of the infection, as well as recruit more health workers that are trained in molecular diagnostics to support existing public laboratories.
Source: Tech Gist Africa