Ghanaian scientist invents COVID variant detection device


Dr Eric Ashalley, Ghanaian nanoscientist with the Institute of Industrial Research (IIR) under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has invented a virus tracking device that brings testing diagnosis to the doorstep of everyone.

“The device can categorise and detect virus. When it comes to the COVID viruses, it can tell you which variant one is infected with,” Ashalley said on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Wednesday (12 January).

The Ghanaian has since secured a patent from the United States Patent Office.

Talking to the show host Kwaku Nhyira-Addo, the technology research scientist also disclosed that GPS has been integrated with the device for easy contact tracing.

“Where we can’t send people for contact tracing we can use the device because it can pinpoint people with the virus, thanks to the GPS,” Dr Ashalley said.

According to him, the invention is to help the world easily detect other viruses more dangerous than COVID in the future.

Presently, the device detects and categorises various kinds of microorganism and viruses utilising light-matter interplay.

He said the invention was achieved in collaboration with the University of North Texas-USA led by Prof Arup Neogi.

About the device

Ashalley said the device is convenient to use.

“The new device categorises various bacteria and viruses at an extremely high accuracy of 99.87% and it is compatible with smartphones and wearable devices,” the state-owned Daily Graphic quoted him.

Ashalley advised Ghanaian institutions and young innovators to pay close attention to very simple concepts and look at innovation as a means to help others other than acquiring wealth.

“To the government do not wait for innovators to come to you for help. Sometimes you calling in to check what is happening and providing support is encouraging, but when there’s too much silence it defeats the purpose to which we are inventing,’’ he told Asaase Radio.

Other projects from CSIR

Ashalley added that: “The institute is undergoing a major revamp, we have a smart irrigation system which you can be anywhere on the surface of the globe and regulate the irrigation in your farm, this is one of the brilliant projects we are working on’.”


Ashalley received his Masters and PhD degrees from the Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences (IFFS) at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), in 2014 and 2018 respectively, both in nanoscience and technology.

He has professional membership with IEEE, Optical and the Royal Society of Chemistry – UK. Ashalley is also the founder and CEO of RGlobal-worldwide; a multidisciplinary research institute.

He has two years of postdoctoral research experience jointly with the University of North Texas-USA and UESTC-China in 2021, and currently working with the Institute for Industrial Research under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-IIR).

His research interests include machine-learning-based nanophotonic systems design and optimisation, optical neural networks, chiral plasmonics and integrated intelligent nanophotonic devices.

Winifred Lartey

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