A Uganda scientist, Dr. Misaki Wayengera has developed a rapid test kit that can detect Ebola proteins in less than five minutes, a giant leap forward in medical innovation in Africa and the fight against Ebola.
However, the development process of the test kit has been plagued by funding problems and bureaucratic setbacks that threaten to derail the project.
Dr. Wayengera has not received financial backing from the government although at that time, “the president’s office recognized the importance of his research and promised full support.”
Through the efforts of Dr. Wayengera, his research team at Makerere University College of Health Sciences eventually secured funding from Grand Challenges Canada, a nonprofit organization founded by the Canadian government. The team at the start received $100,000 Canadian dollars (US $ 95,600) grant from the organization before being offered an additional $ 1.5 million by Grand Challenges Canada.
The invention of Dr. Wayengera, “is the first rapid test that can detect various strains of the Ebola and Marburg viruses.”
The inventor is reported to have applied for a patent with the Organization of African Regional Intellectual Property and the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2013 and 2014.
On average, it takes about a year for a patent to be granted by the World Intellectual Property Organization and five years by the Organization of African Regional Intellectual Property.
Dr. Wayengera invention is expected to reduce the Ebola mortality rate through faster diagnosis of the diseases.