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An important milestone of the AfriDx project is to develop and adapt a rapid and affordable diagnostic system for SARS-CoV-2 that may be implemented in Ghana in the fight against COVID-19. The system should require little or no training and eliminate the need to send samples to central laboratories.

The PATHPOD system developed at DTU (Technical University of Denmark) relies on easy-to-use gear, provides results in 30 minutes and requires minimal training. The system is based on Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP), a molecular technology that amplifies and detects the specific genetic sequences of the virus. The solution is an adaption of the platform developed under the EU project VIVALDI to detect animal viruses. The system will process up to 10 samples in a single run. PATHPOD will be accurate and comparable to RT-PCR, the current gold standard for the molecular diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2, with the advantage of being faster and on-site. It will be suitable for rapid second-line detection in mobile clinics and community health centers without the need to ship the sample to a central laboratory.

DTU has now completed the production and quality testing of the first PATHPOD consignment for Ghana. Three PATHPOD instruments and 250 disposable cartridges – enough for performing 2500 tests for COVID-19 – has arrived at our partner laboratories (KNUST, KCCR, and NMIMR). In addition as agreement within the partners from Ghana and all members of the AfriDx consortium, other 250 disposable cartridges for other 2500 tests will be sent after the first testing round. This marks an important milestone in the AfriDx project.

A virtual training course of “how to use the PATHPOD system” for different partners in Ghana was organized by DTU on 12th of May 2021 as first step of the implementation of the PATHPOD detection system in Ghanaian health care. In this online training course after introduction via Video and zoom online at least one of partners in Ghana performed the test in parallel with DTU. After the tests, the results of the tests were explained and discussed. 

All partners in Ghana are now familiar with the PATHPOD system and are using the PATHPOD system to detect COVID19 under local conditions a clinical trial will be conducted to assess the possibilities for use on a wider scale in the fight against COVID-19 in Ghana.