- The lab will support research in the development of medicines to treat some cancers.
- It will also make it possible for the country to quickly develop diagnostics that are specific to emerging mutations.
Kenya’s capacity to conduct research in new and re-emerging pandemics and outbreaks has received a major boost.
This is after a new laboratory for research was established at the Kenya Medical Research Institute.
The new laboratory that will be based at Kemri headquarters will develop rapid diagnostic solutions for Kenya, the East African region and the African continent.
The lab will support research in the development of medicines to treat some cancers and help the country to be better prepared for any likely emerging and reemerging infections.
It will also make it possible for the country to quickly develop diagnostics that are specific to emerging mutations, which often have to wait for the international response that may not even happen hence exposing the nation to health insecurity.
The laboratory contains a robust highly automated DNA Synthesizer and a NextGeneration sequencer fully financed by the Government of Kenya through the Kemri Internal Research Grants.
It will now be used in the development of molecular diagnostic kits such as PCR, Rapid Test Kits and Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), detection and characterization of DNA for any emerging or re-emerging infections.
“Besides providing a platform for Rapid development of diagnostic kits in case of national epidemics, the platform is expected to promote and enhance quick outputs in biomedical research in the country and regionally,” Kemri said in a statement.
ELISA is a laboratory technique that uses antibodies linked to enzymes to detect and measure the amount of a substance in a solution, such as serum.
According to Kemri, it currently takes between one and four weeks for biomedical researchers to procure primers for their research.
“This platform will be able to provide these primers within one to five days, at a minimal cost that will be used to maintain the equipment,” the statement said.
Kemri said the first activity was the procurement of DNA sequencing machines with the capacity to identify pathogens responsible for epidemics within a few hours.