Israel’s leading coronavirus testing company, AID Genomics, has signed a deal to set up a system of laboratories for detecting and genetic sequencing of the virus in Africa.
Africa is home to some 1.3 billion people and has the lowest levels of immunization in the world, with only six countries on the continent having vaccinated more than 40% of their population. Some have less than 1% vaccination.
There have been at least 9,472,000 reported infections and 227,000 reported deaths caused by coronavirus in Africa so far, according to the Reuters COVID-19 tracker.
South Africa is also where it seems that the Omicron variant was developed.
AID Genomics CEO Snir Zano said governments from countries around the world, including Africa, have been approaching the company over the past two years to ask for assistance.
The company will be “redistributing our resources based on the world’s morbidity centers,” he said, and “decided to reduce the activity of our corona testing division in Israel.”
“After inquiries coming to us in the last two years from a large number of countries for assistance in coronavirus testing, and upon completion of the development and assimilation procedures of our technology and professional knowledge in the field, we decided that the time has come to expand,” Zano said.
In addition to Africa, the company is looking to expand into Europe, Asia and North America, he said.
AID Genomics was founded in 2018, less than two years before the start of the COVID pandemic. The company’s mission is to develop precision medicine-based diagnostics, primarily for oncology but also for hereditary rare diseases and infectious diseases. With the start of the coronavirus crisis, it began devoting major resources toward the global fight.
In 2020, AID Genomics was contracted by the government to revamp six laboratories and validate their reverse transcription PCR lab protocols and provide COVID-19 PCR testing. It also set up an automated lab in Jerusalem capable of running 70,000 COVID-19 PCR tests per day.
Over the past year, the lab has processed five million COVID PCR tests. It is currently considered the largest coronavirus lab in the Middle East region.
Even as the company expands abroad, AID Genomics will leave a significant part of its research and development division in Israel and continue to operate its lab, Zano said.