United Methodist Church-run Africa University has found partners to fund the establishment of a virology center at the institution which will offer services for testing viruses that include the novel Corona virus and others.
The University has some of the best laboratories and has been working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care in Malaria research.
AU vice chancellor Proffessor Munashe Furusa said the virology center was at an advanced stage and will be operational soon.
He said the University was also carrying out research on a new face mask similar to the N95 mask but with better features.
“We work very closely with the Ministry of Health and Malaria research is one of the areas of cooperation. We are looking towards establishing a virology center where we will be doing testing for such viruses. We are in touch with our partners and we hope the center will be operational soon,” he said.
“We have also been carrying out research on a mask that is very close to the N95 mask. That is a clinical mask that has a filter, which we are working on with a partner in South Africa. Once we have that mask, it will help our front line personnel.”
However, bringing material for from South Africa during the lock down period has posed a challenge for the research team as it has caused some delays.
Prof Furusa said the institution was also upgrading most of their labs, including a state-of-the-art space lab, which would propel the university’s research work to a higher level.
AU launched its U-safe hand sanitizer early this year after receiving a $350 000 grant from Old Mutual.
He said the PPE production initiative was going well and there were plans to increase production as long as there was a steady supply of ethanol.