Kenya inks pact with Vela Diagnostics to advance public health surveillance for COVID-19

KENYA – Kenya’s Ministry of Health, through the National Public Health Laboratory of Kenya (NPHL), has selected Vela Diagnostics as their primary supplier for SARS-CoV-2 genotyping tests in a move to advance COVID-19 surveillance and risk monitoring.

The National Public Health Laboratory of Kenya operates under Kenya’s Ministry of Health and plays an important role in the nation’s healthcare by providing reference testing for key diseases and in response to disease outbreaks.

The collaborative project between NPHL and Vela Diagnostics will be funded by The Global Fund following the announcement that NPHL is currently embarking on a program to trace and curb spread of COVID-19 in Kenya with funding from the international financing and partnership organization.

In addition, the collaboration will significantly contribute to Vela’s expansion plans in Africa including expanding presence across South Africa where the manufacturer’s HIV genotyping assay is currently undergoing registration for sales in the country.

The Sentosa® SQ HIV-1 Genotyping Kit is a US FDA De Novo designated NGS assay for detecting HIV-1 drug resistance mutations (DRMs).

The partnership will leverage Vela Diagnostics’ extensive infectious diseases portfolio along with the provider’s solutions to support COVID-19 testing for instance the ViroKey SQ FLEX SARS-CoV-2 Genotyping Assay is vital tool to the Kenyan NPHL’s surveillance efforts.


According to Vela Diagnostics, the ViroKey SQ FLEX SARS-CoV-2 Genotyping Assay is a next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based test for detecting genomic mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome from nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs.

The worldwide diagnostics supplier highlights that the accompanying reporter software automatically calls out mutations and classifies them by lineage thus providing critical insights to the molecular epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Vela Diagnostics is a leading provider for integrated IVD system solutions including Vela’s test solutions that utilize the automated Sentosa platform providing the unique ability to leverage one system for NGS and PCR testing in infectious disease and oncology.

Vela Diagnostics has developed crucial COVID-19 testing and contact tracing tools namely the ViroKey SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test v2.0 which is a test for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infections and the ViroKey SARS-CoV-2 ID RT-PCR Test which quickly identifies specific strains and potential variants of concern.

Head of the Genomics and Molecular Surveillance Laboratory Unit in Kenya Dr Leonard Kingwara confirmed that Vela Diagnostics’ genotyping assay ensures timely results through automation and reduction of hands-on procedures

Dr Leonard Kingwara acknowledged the efficiency of Vela Diagnostics’ SARS-CoV-2 genotyping assay in results generation as well as its utility for expanding the scope of pathogen public health surveillance, noting that Vela’s genotyping assay has facilitated timely result releases for various research projects.

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