Helping to keep COVID-19 out of mines | #eBizHealth| Gerald Naidoo


As South Africa’s mining sector slowly reboots production following one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, mining companies have been tasked with taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of all employees and contractors returning to work. Some control measures are already in place to minimise the risks arising from COVID-19, and mines will have to test all employees on a regular basis.

This does not have to be an onerous process, says Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Leviathan Viral Testing Africa. “Mobile testing kits are going to become an essential piece of equipment in mines across the country. These will allow screening to take place without causing production bottlenecks, and without having to make miners travel to different buildings for tests to be done.”

He adds that the industry is actually one of the best placed to prevent mass coronavirus infections, with tightly controlled access as well as its own hospitals. In addition, mines have a lot of experience fighting diseases such as TB and AIDS, so they have effective medical protocols in place. Mining companies are also discussing other ways to work with each other to ensure the health and safety of employees returning to work.

“All of the measures the mines are taking, such as additional protective gear, are necessary precautions. However, testing is going to prove the single most effective preventative measure, allowing them to immediately identify and contain infections,” Naidoo says.

“Our mobile testing kit produces results in under 30 minutes, making it the fastest test available on the market. It also has 99.99% accuracy. Using a solution like this, mining companies can screen their entire workforce in a few days, enabling them to do repeated testing – even after we move to a less onerous lockdown stage.”

Under Level 4, coal mines and open cast operations can operate at 100%, while those underground can do so at 50%. The industry is currently operating at around 30% capacity.

Leviathan Viral Testing Africa’s mobile test kit is manufactured by Evotech-Mirai Genomics, a Japanese-Russian company. Originally developed for testing influenza A and B over more than a 10-year period, the test was first used for Covid-19 testing on 23rd February by testing passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship when it docked in Japan. Since then, it has been endorsed and used by a number of governmental and federal agencies worldwide, including Russia, Japan, the UAE, and Austria.

“The platform is proven, robust and based on more than 20 US and 20 Japanese patents. Our method provides fast, accurate results, and is already being used by a number of South African companies to protect their frontline staff. Not only is the test fast and accurate, it is extremely cost-effective, and can also be used to test for other diseases such as TB. As mining companies look to ramp up their testing capabilities over the next few weeks, we believe we are ideally placed to help them achieve their COVID-19 prevention goals,” Naidoo concludes.

About Leviathan Viral Testing Africa (LVT)

Leviathan Viral Testing Africa is the exclusive distributor of the SmartAmp technology manufactured by Evotech-Mirai Genomics (EMG), a joint Japanese-Russian company. Providing high-quality, fast, accurate diagnostic solutions in support of healthcare providers and associated professionals who strive to deliver the very best in patient-care and treatment, LVT works with world-leading clinical research centres and manufacturers who are pioneering cutting edge technologies.

The company specialises in high fidelity medical instrumentation and technology for rapid diagnostics of COVID-19. The product line was originally developed for testing influenza A and B over more than a 10 year period. As such, the platform is proven, robust and based on more than 20 US and 20 Japanese patents. COVID-19 testing was first perfected on 23rd February by testing passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship when it docked in Japan.

The SmartasAmp SARS-COV-2 RNA test aligns with the laboratory testing WHO interim guidance published on the 19th March 2020, and is FDA approved. The solution has been endorsed by a number of international health departments and organisations. The Russian State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR (WHO reference laboratory) test validation showed that 800 samples tested 100% sensitivity, specificity results were achieved as well as cross-reactivity test was successfully done. The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) confirmed that the SmartAmp SARS-CoV-2 RNA test is the most time saving and accurate COVID-19 detection solution currently available. The National Institute of Infectious Diseases, part of the Japanese Government, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, has announced the approval of the SmartAmp SARS-CoV-2 test. The use of these kits will be covered under the Japanese insurance system with related costs covered by Social Insurance

LVT’s tests offer a fast reaction rate, typically less than 30 minutes. Starting from 100 CFU per swab, they guarantee high sensitivity and high specificity, with a 99.99% accuracy rate. 

Leviathan Viral Testing Africa is a fully Black-Owned Level 1 B-BBEEE company.

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