Testing for COVID-19
Our role in expanding Nigeria's capacity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic
As a health technology company advancing the state of healthcare for the benefit of Africans and the global population, the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria was for us, a call to action. With our existing technical capabilities and infrastructure, we made the decision to create a response that was geared at increasing testing capacity in Nigeria.
COVID-19 Efforts at A Glance
COVID-19 Efforts at A Glance
Nigeria COVID-19 Fund
At the beginning of the pandemic, Nigeria’s COVID-19 testing capacity was around 200 tests a day. Speed was needed and we quickly raised a total of $500,000 to increase the testing capacity in public laboratories by at least 1,000 additional tests per day.
Through the Nigeria COVID-19 fund, we delivered vital molecular testing instruments to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and other public laboratories. These included items such as multiple high throughput and low throughput PCR machines, automated RNA extractors, magnetic racks, heating blocks, microcentrifuges, vortexes, laptops, and other items.
COVID-19 Mobile Laboratories
The pandemic exposed the lack of existing molecular laboratories in Nigeria. Because there was a need to increase testing quickly we developed a COVID-19 mobile lab solution.
Our COVID-19 mobile lab removed the restriction imposed by permanent buildings and allowed us to quickly offer our services to multiple states due to the ease of transport and the mobile capability it provided.
On the 27th of April, we became one of the first private laboratories to receive approval to join the network of accredited testing centres in the country.
Within a period of four months, we had established five fully functional mobile laboratories in four states: Ogun (Ota and Abeokuta), Kano, Abuja and Ekiti, while also offering testing services in our physical laboratory in Lagos to support the states’ efforts to increase testing capacity.
Testing of Returning Stranded Nigerians
We provided COVID-19 testing services to people who were previously unable to return to Nigeria due to the pandemic and the resulting close of borders imposed by the governments of most countries to curb the spread of the virus. Our testing services enabled the federal government to drive key decisions on isolation where necessary. So far, we have tested more than 4,000 passengers who have returned to Nigeria from over 14 different countries including Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, UAE, South Africa, Senegal, Israel, London, Sudan, Germany, Pakistan, Turkey and UK. Our Covid-19 testing services are currently still ongoing for those returning to their countries or coming back into Nigeria.
Addressing the Dearth in Molecular Scientists
As we began to set up multiple laboratories to augment testing for COVID-19 in the country, it became apparent that there was a void in the skill set required to work in these labs. This meant that there was a need to build capacity and knowledge transfer needed to take place. We have so far trained over 40 molecular scientists on PCR techniques and empowered them with the requisite skills required for COVID-19 testing.
Molecular Training Academy
The lack of infrastructure and adequate knowledge base makes local universities within the country unable to train the molecular scientists that come out of these institutes to international standards. This conceived our molecular training academy which was set up to exemplify what a molecular scientist should typically know both theoretically and practically.
Our first set of 10 trainees began their 4-week training on the 25th of June and will be graduating from the academy on the 18th of July. During the 4 weeks of training, the trainees have been taken through comprehensive modules of molecular science taught physically by two of our already trained in-house molecular scientists and virtually by our Senior Director, Molecular Genetics and Biobank Operations, Dr. Jumi Popoola.
Frequently Asked Questions
To book a test with 54gene, please click here.
Yes, we are listed on the NCDC’s network of accredited testing centres in Nigeria.
The sample type is nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal (throat swab). We use the RT-PCR method of detection as it is highly sensitive and highly specific for the diagnosis of COVID-19 disease. It is also currently the only approved method of detection for COVID-19.
Currently, our private tests are offered in Lagos and Ogun states.
We provide testing services for companies who wish to conduct COVID-19 tests for their employees, at a prescribed fee. Please send an email with the details of your booking to firstname.lastname@example.org and a sales representative will be in touch within 24hours.
Yes. We provide COVID-19 testing services to individuals who wish to get tested. Please click here to book a test.
At present, we are not a walk-in lab.
The safety of our workforce is of high priority to us. As such, we have invested in the best quality biosafety materials ranging from autoclaves which help to sterilise and decontaminate laboratory instruments and other materials, to Personal Protective Equipment such as masks, face shields, goggles, elbow length gloves, to name a few.
Our lab scientists have also been trained extensively on safety measures in the laboratory.
Please visit our careers page for a list of our current openings.