Avatar photo

Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Covid-19 or normal flu? Locally-produced antigen test hits the shelves

It provides instant results within 15 seconds.

The first locally-produced Covid-19 antigen test in Africa has hit the shelves locally and at pharmacies and supermarkets across the continent.

This was announced by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Tuesday.

The owner of the test is Ashley Uys, an alumnus of the university and owner of Medical Diagnostech.

ALSO READ: Covid-19: People who used ventilator also developed secondary bacterial pneumonia

The home test kit, HealthPulse TestNow, is expected to meet the public’s needs at the start of winter and in the heart of the flu season.

According to the UWC, the kit works with an app to divulge whether you have Covid-19 or a normal, and sells for 35% less than imported kits currently available on the market.

It provides instant results within 15 seconds.


“We are most proud of being the first African manufacturer of Covid-19 tests to be approved by SAHPRA,” Uys told the university.

“With the products we create, we want to not only distribute to supermarkets and pharmacies but to sell directly to the public in schools, at churches and community organisations.

ALSO READ: Covid-19: SA urged to remain vigilant following WHO’s global emergency lift

“I want to go this route to keep the price as affordable as possible.”

The test kit comes with easy-to-follow instructions and guided result interpretation. It integrates with public health reporting systems and ensures that self-testing data is reported, providing a more comprehensive understanding of disease prevalence.

“I believe self-testing is an important component of public health strategies worldwide and the kit is designed to improve an individual’s self-testing aptitude while seamlessly connecting ministries of health with test data to maximise the end-to-end impact of public health programmes,” he said.

ALSO READ: Covid no longer a global health emergency – WHO

Uys said what motivated him was seeing the loss of life around him in the heart of the pandemic.

“It drove me to wear my hazmat suit to go into homes to assist in collecting blood and swab samples.”

Africa for Africa

His next project will be on medicinal cannabis.

“I want to see the African continent thrive and to continue to find ways to help solve Africa’s challenges. The long-term plan is to see representation on all major continents, and in Africa; to see our main branches in the main African countries where we can supply all neighbouring countries and see our manufacturing facilities represented within major African countries.”

Read more on these topics

Covid-19 flu World Health Organization (WHO)

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits