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Palestinian-American owned firm to 'mass produce' coronavirus test kits, offering hope for thousands

A Palestinian-owned company has developed a rapid testing kit for coronavirus [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 March, 2020

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The North Carolina Mjalli Investment Group, owned by Palestinian scientist and businessman Adnan Mjalli, will mass produce home testing kits for coronavirus.
A US-based Palestinian-owned company says it has acquired exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute a rapid-result coronavirus test kit - the VITAK-19.

The North Carolina Mjalli Investment Group, owned by Palestinian scientist and businessman Adnan Mjalli, claims it will make the COVID-19 testing kit available locally, nationally and worldwide on a large scale, in a statement shared by Business Wire.

The company said it currently has a substantial quantity of test kits and is ready to provide 500,000 kits within one to two days and 100,000 per day thereafter. 

According to MIG, the test it has developed requires a fingertip blood sample with results being generated in approximately 8 minutes.

The test can also be self-administered, allowing individuals or healthcare providers to test themselves for coronavirus at home.

"This IgM/IgG kit (VITAK-19) is a rapid point-of-care test for COVID antibodies," said MIG's Palestinian executive chairman Dr. Mjalli.

"We at MIG USA are very excited to have the VITAK-19 which will have a significant impact on the war against the coronavirus to detect the virus quickly and efficiently and we are working very hard to make the kits accessible to all medical communities throughout the US."

The Mjalli Investment Group said it will be increasing production at a manufacturing site in High Point, North Carolina. MIG has several other headquarters around the world, including a regional headquarters in the city of Ramallah.

Governments worldwide are cautiously optimistic about fingerprick tests for coronavirus but more research is still needed. 

There are hopes the test can be rolled out for use by the general public soon. Health care workers on the front line against the disease would particularly benefit from such a test as it would allow them to return to work more quickly.

The Guardian reported on Wednesday that millions of 15-minute home coronavirus tests will be made available to people with symptoms of the virus in the UK.

Experts, however, have stressed that tests must be checked for reliability before they can be rolled out.

"The key thing for us to do is evaluate – are these tests accurate enough to be used by the general public?” UK chief medical officer Chris Witty said on Wednesday.

"If they are incredibly accurate, we will work out the quickest way to release them. If they are not accurate, we will not release any of them."

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