Regulators greenlight Brazilian-made Covid test

Brazilian-made Covid test
Photo: Shutterstock

Brazil’s federal health regulator Anvisa gave its approval for a new Covid testing technology completely designed and developed in Brazil. The so-called ELISA Covid-19 IgG test is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, which detects and measures antibodies in one’s blood and is more reliable than rapid tests.

The test was developed by researchers at the Federal University of Minas Gerais and received BRL 10 million (USD 1.83 million) in funding from the Science and Technology Ministry. The government says the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation will now work to produce test kits at scale.

“With the entire world demanding inputs for detecting and stopping Covid-19, importing processes can take months to be completed,” claims researcher Flávio Fonseca. “Producing these testing kits en masse is a strategic move to give Brazil independence in detecting the spread of the coronavirus.”

Despite figuring among the world’s top five countries in coronavirus deaths, with nearly 600,000 casualties, Brazil is not big on Covid testing. In fact, data platform World-o-meters shows that Brazil ranks 122nd in tests performed per capita, behind countries such as Iraq, Gabon, or even India — home to a population 6.5 times larger.