The MAScIR Foundation (Moroccan Foundation for advanced science, innovation and research) plans to manufacture 10,000 Covid-19 diagnostic kits before the end of June 2020, said the director general of the Foundation, Nawal Chraibi, on Wednesday.
During a press briefing dedicated to the presentation of the first 100% Moroccan kit for the diagnosis of Covid-19, designed by the medical biotechnology center of the MAScIR Foundation, Chraibi underlined that “from March 12, when the World Health Organization (WHO) has called Covid-19 a pandemic, our medical biotechnology team has taken the initiative by drawing on the expertise accumulated over the past 10 years to develop the SARS-COV2 diagnostic kit”.
After having presented the medical biotechnology center, as being a structure which hosts the research work of a team for ten years around two axes, namely the development of kits for molecular diagnosis of certain prevalent infectious and cancer diseases in Morocco and Africa and the development of a platform dedicated to biosimilar drugs, Chraibi noted that this new diagnostic kit for Covid-19, designed in record time, was “recognized for its singularity due to its composition, its characteristics and sensitivity after it has been compared to routine kits used in national reference laboratories”.
To this end, the Director General explained that “as soon as the kit was validated in our laboratory, it was subject to clinical trials on a sample of 450 patients with Covid-19”, thus demonstrating complete matching as well as very high performance. She said that at present, the objective has been set around the manufacture of 10,000 kits before the end of June 2020, before going towards a more substantial production which would cover the national need in this area.
For their part, the researchers at the medical biotechnology center of the MAScIR Foundation and members of the kit design team, doctors Abdeladim Moumen, Zineb Qmichou, Imane Abdellaoui Maane, Hassan Ait Benhassou, Hicham El Hadi, and Hassan Sefrioui, expressed their satisfaction with this 100% Moroccan innovation, before explaining the steps that led to the development of the “MAScIR SARS-COV2 kit”. “This kit, which required a working period of 2 months, went through three main stages, namely the extraction of ribonucleic acid from the SARS-COV2 virus, reverse transcriptase as well as amplification of virus detection”, they explained, adding that once developed, this test was subjected to a series of validation processes in reference biological and virological centers, nationally and internationally among those of the Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Gendarmerie and the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
Created in 2007, MAScIR is a Moroccan foundation which aims to promote and develop research and development centers in Morocco that meet the country’s needs in advanced technologies, especially in the medical biology sector.
Due to its vocation and ambition to actively support innovation for the benefit of the national economic and industrial fabric and thus contribute to energy, food and health security in Morocco, the MAScIR Foundation has qualified human resources and equipment for cutting edge technology, which have enabled it, in the space of twelve years, to file 180 patents with extensions at the African regional level, to produce 650 scientific articles in journals of international renown and to carry out more than a hundred projects and achievements with national and foreign industrialists, thus showing its maturity and its capacities in scientific research and applied research.