As the deadly COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, the World Health Organization has warned Africa to “prepare for the worse.” The death toll in one of the world's poorest continents could reach nearly 10 million in the next six months, according to a WHO official.
However, a laboratory in Senegal is doing their part to help themselves by developing a $1 COVID-19 testing kit for its arsenal against the coronavirus, leveraging the country’s experience in combating deadly diseases like AIDS and Ebola, Aljazeera reports.
In the United States, the Trump administration has struggled to create a mass testing program that scientists say is needed. Multiple problems, including funding, distribution to hard-hit areas of the country, and a lack of early planning have crippled the efforts.
While there is no cure or vaccine to treat the disease, engineers in Senegal are also using 3D printers to manufacture $60 ventilators In addition to their inexpensive testing kits. It would cost the country about $16,000 to import the machines, according to the news outlet.
Senegal has the highest rate of recovery across Africa, and the third highest in the world, Aljazeera says. As of April 20, Senegal reported only three COVID-19 deaths, according to a WHO report.
Amadou Sall of the Institut Pasteur, in the capital Dakar, said Senegal expects to produce up to 4 million kits that officials could distribute across the continent.
For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.