Rapid diagnosis tests NEOKIT-COVID-19 and ELA- CHEMSTRIP began to be distributed in public hospitals

They are diagnostic tests for coronavirus which are economical and provide results in less than two hours. CONICET scientists at the ‘Milstein Institute’ and Universities of San Martin and Quilmes were in charge of their development. Source: MINCyT

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Argentina and CONICET scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Dr. César Milstein delivered 1,500 determinations of NEOKIT-COVID-19, and trained hospital authorities of  the province and the city of Buenos Aires to implement these diagnostic tests. 

The determinations, which are used to test RNA samples and obtain results in less than two hours, were delivered to the authorities of the following institutions: hospitals San Juan de Dios and Rossi of La Plata; Centro de Diagnóstico de Exactas de la Universidad Nacional de La Plata; Hospital Fiorito de Avellaneda; Hospital Petrona V. de Cordero de San Fernando; el Hospital Abete de Malvinas Argentinas and Hospital Muñiz in the city of Buenos Aires. 

As regards ELA-CHEMSTRIP, the National Universities of San Martín and Quilmes and the Ministry of Health of the province of Buenos aires worked together to deliver 5000 determinations to the following hospitals: Mariano y Luciano de la Vega in Moreno; San juan de Dios in La Plata; Luisa Cravenna de Gandulfo Lomas de Zamora; Presidente Perón in Avellaneda; Néstor Carlos Kirchner in Escobar.

It is worth mentioning that the developments are part of the “Unit Coronvirus COVID-19,” which comprises the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, CONICET and the National Agency for the Promotion of Research, Technological Development and Innovation. 



Developed by scientists of CONICET at the ‘Institute of Science and Technology Dr. César Milstein’ (ICT Milstein, CONICET-Fundación Pablo Cassará). The rapid diagnostic kit has two main features: it can test RNA samples and obtain results in less than two hours (with sensitivity similar to current RT-PCR techniques) and does not require complete equipment (real time thermocyclers). The change of color, from negative violet to positive blue determines a positive test for SARS-CoV-2. This tool accelerates and reinforces the response of the health workers’ teams to make rapid decisions about patients with symptoms, that is whether to keep them isolated, discharge them or perform some treatment. The development can reach a local production of almost 500 kits per week, that is to say, about 50,000 tests depending on the availability of the corresponding supply. 

“NEOKIT-COVID-19”  was developed by a research team of ICT Milstein led by Adrián Vojnov. The team comprises Carolina Carrillo, Luciana Larocca, Fabiana Stolowicz, and Santiago Werbajh of Fundación Cassará.



The Argentine diagnostic test for the virus that causes COVID-19 was developed by an strategic alliance between the National Universities of San Martin (UNSAM) and Quilmes (UNQ) and two SMEs: CHEMTEST and Productos Bio-lógicos SA (PB-L). The kit works in three steps starting from the nasopharyngeal swab of the person to be diagnosed. The whole process takes one hour and half and can be done with the products that come in the diagnostic kit, plus a 60° incubation equipment. This means that the test does not require the expensive and sophisticated equipment needed for RT-PCR molecular tests. 

The SMEs involved are: CHEMTEST, which emerged in the Fundación Argentina de Nanotecnología (FAN) of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation inside the Campus of UNSAM; and Productos Bio-Lógicos (PB-L), a technology-based company created from UNQ. Together, they can produce 100,000 diagnostic kits for COVID-19 per month. 


Source: MINCyT