Addis Ababa — As the Coronavirus, COVID-19 Pandemic rages throughout Europe and the US, countries around the world have been facing shortages of personal protective equipment, diagnostic testing kits, ventilators, and difficulties of tracing people who may have come in contact with COVID-19-infected persons. This has put countries under pressure to find solutions to these challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Two ingenious Africans, Dr. Dougbeh Christopher Nyan of Liberia and Yoseh Seyoum of Ethiopia have in their possession urgently needed solutions for Africa and the world. Now, the governments of Ethiopia and Rwanda have taken notice and interest of the two scientific innovations.
Dougbeh Nyan is a German-trained medical doctor and a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-trained infectious disease scientist. He invented a rapid pathogen diagnostic test that can detect many infections and identify them at the same time in less than an hour. Dr. Nyan’s test has been granted a Patent by the US Trademark and Patent Office and won several awards.
The test, now called the Nyan-Test, has the ability to detect the Coronaviruses SARS and MERS as well as the novel Coronavirus (COVID19). The test detects HIV, Zika, Ebola, Hepatitis viruses, Malaria and other infections.
“When I was developing this diagnostic test, I made it to be portable, simple to use, and affordable for the developing countries and the disadvantage communities in the developed world, hence the test can be used anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Nyan, the Chief Medical and Scientific Office of Shufflex Biomed.
While tracing contacts of infected persons have remain paramount to the mitigation process, Yoseph Seyoum, a software developer from Ethiopia, has developed a proprietary web-based platform and app that can report, track patients and map Coronavirus hotspots without compromising confidentiality. The app can be used to identify symptomatic patients using GPS & smartphone technology, said Yoseph, the CEO and Founder of PhantomALERT.
“My Application spots potential infection-clusters through symptoms reported by the people using the app in the different communities and gives the indication of hotspots before the disease spreads. Once the hot spots are identified, public health contact tracers can then move into the communities, screen, assist, and isolate symptomatic patients for quarantining,” Yoseph said.
He added that, “imagine if everyone in the Africa with Coronavirus-like symptoms such high fever, cough could instantaneously report their locations, temperature, and other symptoms using our App, we could immediately identify clusters and send containment teams and help.”
“Testing kits are in short supply in Africa as the Western donor countries on which African always depends are also struggling for COVID-19 testing kits and personal protective gear for healthcare workers,” stated Dr. Nyan.
Dr. Nyan further stated that, “once PhantomALERT identifies clusters of infected communities, then specimen can be taken and tested with our multiplex diagnostic test which provides the results to public health workers within less than an hour.”
Ethiopia and Rwanda, two countries in Africa that are investing in healthcare technology have spotted the combined benefit of Dr. Nyan’s rapid diagnostic test and Yoseph’s PhantomALERT. Dr. Nyan’s test can be produced in bulk to meet Africa’s needs for COVID-19 diagnostic testing kits.
Already, Dr. Nyan has collaborative relation with the Military Hospital in Rwanda and the Department of Tropical and Infectious Diseases at the Institute of Primate Research in Kenya. At various levels of the Ethiopian government, discussions are going on to incorporate the usefulness of the two technologies in the fight against COVID-19.