Senegal’s $1 COVID-19 test kit and the race for a vaccine

What should take 10-15 years, the global scientific community hopes to cram into months. The World Health Organization (WHO) says there are 70 vaccines in the works for COVID-19, four of the most promising are already being tested. 

The billions being spent now could help return the economy back to normality. There is no guarantee that any of the vaccines will work. 

For now, on and off lockdowns and flare-ups of coronavirus could be the norm. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will fund the manufacturing of seven potential vaccines. Despite the fact that billions of dollars could be wasted, maybe just one or two of the vaccines will be successful. But Bill Gates argues that losing a billion is better than the global economy losing trillions of dollars. 

The United States has set aside $27bn from its multitrillion-dollar stimulus package for the development of vaccines. It bet almost $500m on drugmaker Moderna to deliver its COVID-19 vaccine, which is already in trials. 

Tech start-up BenevolentAI has unleashed its machine-learning power to find existing drugs that may be used in the fight against the pandemic. It has identified a rheumatoid arthritis drug from Eli Lilly that may do the job. 

It is just one of many drugs that are in trials right now.

And it is not just the Western world that has the scientific know-how to beat the virus, in Senegal a laboratory has used its AIDS and Ebola experience to develop a $1 COVID-19 testing kit. 

While there are no drugs to treat COVID-19, enterprising pharmaceutical companies are using existing drugs to help those seriously affected by the pathogen. CytoDyn is seeking approval for compassionate use of its drug

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