MAScIR hopes to improve its production capacity to meet national demand after reaching its 10,000-kit goal.
Rabat – After securing international approval for its 100% made-in-Morocco COVID-19 diagnostic kits, the Rabat-based Moroccan Foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation, and Research (MAScIR) on Wednesday announced plans to manufacture 10,000 kits before the end of June.
During a press conference on June 3, MAScIR Director-General Nawal Chraibi said the foundation’s medical biotechnology team had been working on the kit since the World Health Organization (WHO) described COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 12.
MAScIR’s medical biotechnology center houses ten years of research on the development of molecular diagnostic kits for infectious diseases and cancers in Morocco and Africa. Chraibi said MAScIR designed the COVID-19 diagnostic kit “in record time” and the kit won international approval “due to its composition, its characteristics, and sensitivity after it has been compared to the routine kits used in national reference laboratories.”
The director-general explained that “upon validation of the kit in our laboratory, it underwent clinical trials on a sample of 450 patients with COVID-19,” solidifying its efficiency. Chraibi said the foundation’s objective is to manufacture 10,000 kits before July and then develop a more substantial production system to cover national demand.
Researchers at the MAScIR medical biotechnology center 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 the 100% Moroccan innovation.
“This kit, which required a working period of 2 months, went through three major stages, namely the extraction of ribonucleic acid (RNA) from the SARS-COV 2 virus, reverse transcriptase as well as amplification of virus detection,” the team explained.
Once developed, the COVID-19 diagnostic kit underwent a series of validation processes in national and international biological and virological centers, including the Pasteur Institute of Paris. The approval places the Moroccan design at the same level of COVID-19 testing kits in international use, said MAScIR.
When MAScIR announced the verification of the kit on May 31, the foundation thanked the public authorities, particularly the ministries of the interior, economy, and health, for their support for the project.
The foundation also thanked Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Gendarmerie, the National Institute of Hygiene, the managers and scientists of the national laboratories, the Directorate of Medicines and Pharmacy, and the Casablanca University Hospital. The university opened its laboratories in Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, and Meknes to help MAScIR develop the project.
MAScIR was established in 2007 with the aim of promoting research and development centers in Morocco that meet the country’s medical and biological needs.
Over its 12 years of operation, MAScIR has filed 180 patents with extensions at the African regional level, produced 650 scientific articles in internationally-acclaimed journals, and conducted more than 100 projects with national and foreign industrialists.