The College of Health Sciences (CHS) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has received an ultra-fast Covid-19 testing kit.

According to a statement issued on Monday by the university, the ILEX Genehacker (testing unit), which is valued at $ 10,000, was a donation from the Gift of the Givers foundation. 

The donation was made after a request by UKZN researchers, professor Anil Chuturgoon, Dr Vernon Ramsuran and Dr. Lona Madurai.

The acting dean of research in the CHS and a lead researcher in Covid-19 testing platforms at UKZN, Chuturgoon said: “This generous donation will greatly enhance our existing capacity to provide rapid results on Covid-19 tests for both our staff and students. At the same time by extending our testing facility to external stakeholders we are able to generate much needed third-stream income for the university.”

Picture: IANS

“The generosity of the Gift of the Givers and Dr Imtiaz Sooliman who is an ardent supporter of his alma mater, UKZN, is notable at a time when UKZN and other universities across the world grapple to contribute to the alleviation of this pandemic,” added Chuturgoon.

He said that the test kit would be placed at UKZN’s microbiology laboratory at Howard College campus. It has a turnaround time of six hours,  compared to the 24-hour turnaround time when using existing equipment. 

“We are very excited to have access to this advanced technology which will have a huge impact especially with regard to speedy turnaround times particularly for high risk situations,” said Ramsuran.

Sooliman applauded the university for its professionalism and skill.

File photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

“What makes the UKZN extra special is the quality, resilience and expertise of individuals and departments that continuously raise the bar for others to emulate. Gift of the Givers’ Covid-19 samples are tested at this very same UKZN facility,” said Sooliman.

“The professionalism, expertise, research ethic, humility and sincere dedication to humanity is unmistakable. Supporting such an institution with an ILEX pcr testing machine, to be honest, is just not enough. Prof Chuturgoon and his team of stalwarts do incredible justice to a great institution,” he added.

-ANA, editing by Desiree Erasmus