The move will enhance the testing facilities and helps contain the spread
by AZALEA AZUAR / Pic by BERNAMA
BIOALPHA Holdings Bhd, via its wholly-owned unit Bioalpha Ltd, has signed a memorandum of agreement with Crawford Laboratory Ltd of the Republic of South Sudan to exclusively undertake Covid-19 screening services at two locations in South Sudan over a two-year period.
The RM200 million project would allow the group to supply Covid-19 screening products and services to South Sudan, which is led by the East African Community (EAC) secretariat to enhance healthcare products and services in the region.
There are also expectations to establish similar programmes in other member states namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.
The combined population of the six nations is about 180 million.
“We look forward to working closely with Crawford in supporting South Sudan as they battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Among the continents, Africa reportedly has the lowest vaccination rate with around 1% of its population fully vaccinated as of July 2021,” Bioalpha MD William Hon said during the virtual signing ceremony yesterday.
He said it is crucial to increase testing facilities quickly to identify infected individuals and contain the spread of the virus besides the ability to process test results swiftly is essential.
He said the testing equipment to be supplied to South Sudan will produce results for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests in 40 minutes, versus the standard waiting time of up to 48 hours.
Bioalpha will deliver Covid-19 screening equipment and products including rapid test kits (RTK) and PCR test kits to the country.
The integrated health supplement company would also conduct virtual training to ensure their products are used properly.
Meanwhile, Crawford will be overseeing the operational aspects of the programme, including obtaining approval from and liaising with relevant local authorities to execute the testing and providing the necessary manpower.
The South Sudan company also provides Covid-19 tests in the country and it is also the only organisation in South Sudan that offers online applications for Covid-19 tests.
For the initial stage, Bioalpha said the testing facilities will be located at two key entry points, which are the Nimule border checkpoint and Juba International Airport, in which all inbound travellers must undergo the Covid-19 test.
The price for an RTK test is US$20 (RM84.69) for locals and US$50 for foreigners.
Hon said the company will be supplying 100,000 test kits per month to South Sudan and expect that they will reach a revenue close to RM200 million, to be shared between the two parties.
He said the company targets to achieve a margin above 10%.
Bioalpha would also be exploring opportunities to extend the test facilities to other entry points into the country, which would be decided by the South Sudanese government.
Besides South Sudan, Hon said the company is in talks with Kenyan representatives about the programme.
“An important point to highlight is that the Covid-19 screening solutions we supply are fully integrated with the EACPass, an initiative by the EAC secretariat to enable safe cross-border travel among the EAC countries, integrating information on travellers’ Covid-19 health status,” he added.
The EACPass is equivalent to Malaysia’s MySejahtera.
To date, the EACPass has issued more than a million Covid-19 test certificates, with users from 32 countries.
Bioalpha is expected to deliver the first batch of its Covid-19 screening products next week.
Bioalpha shares climbed 2.27% to 22 sen yesterday, valuing the company RM266.51 million.