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African Company Develops New Cancer Test, Saving Time and Money

— February 23, 2023

Scientists develop a cancer testing kit that’s timelier and more cost-effective than importing tests.

Medical inaccessibility is an issue that still impacts the majority of the world, particularly in less developed nations, but also in poverty-stricken and rural areas across the U.S. In an African country, the development of a new kind of breast cancer and leukemia diagnosis test is attempting to make the challenge of receiving medical treatment a bit easier.

The testing kit was developed by MASciR, or the Moroccan Foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation, and Research. This is not MASciR’s only great accomplishment in recent times, either. In fact, the firm was actually one of the first in the continent to develop a test for COVID-19. Since this test was sold in the Francophone nations Tunisia, Senegal, Rwanda, and Ivory Coast, it is a likely assumption that access to the cancer test will be extended to these nations first.

The debut of this Moroccan-born test has the potential to decrease both the cost of a cancer diagnosis as well as its wait time. Though there are currently many diagnosis kits that are imported into the continent from Europe and North America, the process of receiving the kits is extensive, complicated, and time-consuming.

Some test results are only available after re-exporting the tests back to their respective countries for diagnosis. What used to take a week can now be accomplished within just a few hours.

African Company Develops New Cancer Test, Saving Time and Money
Photo by Chokniti Khongchum- from Pexels

This cancer test, as well as several other advances in the direction of African-produced medicine, is likely a result of the continent’s shockingly high numbers of general pharmaceutical imports. An estimation of 70% of pharmaceutical products, as well as 99% of vaccines used in Africa, are imports not created within the continent.

The concept of affordability for the cancer diagnosis test developed by MASciR is not yet fully achievable. The test is still in its early stages, and therefore it is probable that it will remain expensive for a considerable period of time. The cost may even be higher than the currently imported tests.

However, officials at the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation (APTF) have a different perspective on this matter. They believe that with enough support from both investors and the general public, the cost of the test can be significantly reduced within a few short years. This can be achieved through economies of scale, which will allow MASciR to produce the test at a lower cost and thus pass the savings on to the end users.

Many nations in Africa will be feeling the impacts of this accessibility, including the test creator country, Morocco. Breast cancer is currently the nation’s most common cause of death in women globally, despite worldwide survival rates for those diagnosed early being quite high. This is due to the common phenomenon of women in these nations lacking medical care inaccessibility and being diagnosed at a far later stage. MASciR’s test hopes to change this frightening statistic.

The development of this drug opens doors to a fruitful future for medicinal development in African nations. As these small pharmaceutical companies continue to experience growth and development in the continent, the long-term impact of this newfound accessibility has the power to save countless lives.


The First African-Produced Tests to Diagnose Cancer will Cut Costs and Waiting Times Across the Continent

First African-produced cancer tests to slash costs and waiting times

Dying from lack of medicines

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