Kemri develops new testing kit for Rift Valley Fever

Thursday September 29 2016

The Kenya Medical Research Institute has developed a new rapid diagnostic test kit for testing Rift Valley Fever.

According to the Kemri Product Development department, the new kit known as ImmunoLine TM is more efficient, cheaper and the first of its kind to be developed in Africa.

The rapid test, which takes 30 minutes to provide results, uses blood samples from infected patients and animals to test for antibodies, through a process called Immunochromatographic test.

It was developed over a period of five years in collaboration with the Japan International Corporation Agency using proteins that were similar to the Rift Valley Fever Virus protein and an antibody produced by a single clone of cells.

According to the Centre for Disease Control, Rift Valley Fever is an acute, mosquito-borne viral disease that mainly affects cattle, sheep, goats, and camels, and has the ability to infect humans.

Clinical detection of the Rift Valley Fever is difficult in the absence of haemorrhagic fever or specific organ damage. Also, definitive diagnosis largely depends on laboratory tests.


Kemri’s head of production department James Kimotho said the new kit will enable early detection of the disease. “The test kit represents a major breakthrough in the diagnosis and treatment of RVF in Africa and comes as a relief to pastoral communities where outbreaks are prevalent,” said Dr Kimotho.

He said Kemri has tested more than 200 samples that have proven effective.

The ImmunoLine kit is intended for use in endemic zones such as Baringo, Kilifi and Garissa in Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Egypt, Somalia, South Africa, Mauritania, Yemen, Madagascar and Comoros.

The most recent outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever in the Horn of Africa occurred in 2006-2007, affecting Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and Sudan.