African health-tech startup, 54gene, has launched a fund to tackle the current challenges around testing for COVID-19.
Within 24 hours after opening the fund with a donation of USD 150 K, 54gene has already secured an additional USD 350 K from partners including Union Bank, valuing the fund at USD 500 K (NGN 185 Mn) currently.
The Nigeria-based genomics research, services, and development company says it wants to support the ongoing efforts of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The money raised will help increase COVID-19 testing capacity in the country by up to 1,000 additional tests a day. The funds will be used to purchase testing instruments and the required biosafety materials such as biosafety cabinets and personal protective equipment needed to keep frontline healthcare workers safe.
It is understood that ongoing discussions with other Nigerian institutions are currently taking place, as the company looks to raise enough to accelerate and expand to up to 5,000 tests per day.
By intensifying the testing process for COVID-19, 54gene hopes to help minimize the spread of the viral infection which has spread to over 170 countries across the globe, infecting 480,000+ persons and leading to more than 21,000 deaths worldwide.