COVID-19 and innovation: The new normal

If for nothing at all, one thing that the deadly coronavirus disease has brought the world is innovation and discoveries. 

Ever since the deadly respiratory disease code named Covid-19, was diagnosed, Ghana and indeed Africa has been innovative to help citizens navigate around the effects of the virus. 

Among some of the innovations here in Ghana include the invention of solar powered handwashing machine, locally produced nose masks and hand sanitiser which either too were not considered lucrative. 

Before the disease caused international travels to be brought to a halt, our leaders did not hold virtual meetings to discuss issues of importance to their respective countries and the continent as a whole. 

That however, has become the order of the day as ECOWAS leaders last Thursday met online to discuss how to battle the virus. 

Schools, on the other hand did not have online studies as students were required to be physically present on their various campuses to have their studies. 

In all the above innovations, Ghana still looked out for innovations that would be most handy in the fight against the virus which has claimed over 200,000 lives globally. 

It is in this regard that the Ghanaian Times joins the rest of the country to congratulate the Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology and Incas Diagnostic for inventing the optimised Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kit to support the testing regime in Ghana. 

Before the invention of the RTD, the country relied on the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which detects parts of the viral genome early in infection, at least 48 hours after testing; potentially delaying contact tracing and other efforts. 

The PCR tests are unable to identify people who have been infected (symptomatic or asymptomatic) and recovered. 

“However, KNUST/Incas RDT detects asymptomatic cases, enables decentralised testing to be done anywhere without requiring any equipment,” this paper quoted a statement issued by the KNUST on Wednesday. 

Interesting about the RDT is that it requires little technical training for those performing the test to be able to do so within 20 minutes and results in a shorter time to enable decision making in real time. 

This is a big plus for Ghanaian scientists and should spur us on in our determination to overcome the virus.  

Covid-19 may be having a devastating effect on industries, social life and personal development but it has brought out of us an outpouring of creation in all areas of human life. 

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. We salute the scientists at the KNUST and Incas for coming up with the RDT to support the country in ramping up the tests. 

As President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo told his colleagues in that virtual ECOWAS meeting, “it is very very important that we tailor a specific Ghanaian and African response to the handling of this pandemic and not necessarily copy blindly the methods that are being adopted by countries to the north of us and elsewhere.”

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