20 countries, territories order Covid-19 test kits made in Vietnam

By Bich Ngoc   March 17, 2020 | 04:00 am PT
20 countries, territories order Covid-19 test kits made in Vietnam
A professor of the Vietnam Military Medical University holds a Covid-19 test kit it helped develop. Photo by VnExpress/Bich Ngoc.
20 countries and territories are looking to buy thousands of Vietnamese Covid-19 test kits, the director of a firm making them said Tuesday.

The kits, which utilize molecular biology techniques, including reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), were developed by the Vietnam Military Medical University and the Viet A Technologies firm, funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and approved by the Ministry of Health. They can detect the new coronavirus in specimens of droplets obtained from the respiratory tract and blood samples.

There are enough materials to produce around 3,600 kits right now (a kit’s good for 50 tests) and Viet A is importing more materials to produce another 2,400, the science ministry said.

The firm can produce more if it imports more materials from the U.S. and other countries, the ministry said.

Vietnam can rely on its own kits to perform tests, even if the epidemic spreads widely in the country, Pham Cong Tac, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology said at a Tuesday meeting that discussed measures against the Covid-19 epidemic.

Phan Quoc Viet, director of the Viet A firm, said 20 countries and territories are currently negotiating purchase of the kits from Vietnam. They would export kits to Iran, Finland, Malaysia and Ukraine first, he said.

Hanoi is also ordering 400 kits for its own use and to gift them to Italy, now the second-worst Covid-19 hit country after China, said Viet.

Viet had said earlier that his company could make 10,000 kits a day, and triple the capacity if needed.

The Vietnamese test kits provide quicker results and are easier to use than those used by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, according to the science ministry.

The country currently has 30 facilities capable of doing the Covid-19 test, three of them approved by the World Health Organization: the National Institute Of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi, the Pasteur Institute in Saigon and the Pasteur Institute in south central Nha Trang.

Vietnam has so far recorded 61 Covid-19 patients, 16 of whom have recovered and been discharged. Among those currently under treatment, a 69-year-old British man and a 64-year-old Vietnamese woman, both in Hanoi, are in critical condition.

The Covid-19 outbreak has thus far spread to 162 countries and territories, with the death toll climbing to over 7,300.

go to top