Vietnam able to make 10,000 coronavirus test kits per day

By Bich Ngoc   March 5, 2020 | 07:05 pm PT
Vietnam able to make 10,000 coronavirus test kits per day
The test kit to diagnose Covid-19 infection that Vietnam has licensed for commercial production. Photo by VnExpress/Bich Ngoc.
The Ministry of Health has licensed commercial production of test kits that help diagnose the novel coronavirus infection in just one hour.

It was developed jointly by the Vietnam Military Medical University and tech firm Viet A Corporation.

It is based on reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), a technique that combines reverse transcription of RNA into DNA and amplification of specific DNA targets using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

The kit can detect the new coronavirus in specimens of droplets obtained from the respiratory tract and blood samples.

Do Quyet, director of the university, said all tests done by the university and Viet A Corporation found the kit meeting World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.

The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology tested the kit independently using five different devices for various disease/virus samples and found that the results were accurate in every instance, he said.

The institute, Vietnam’s leading preventive medicine and disease prevention agency, has recommended the use of the kit to detect the new coronavirus.

The National Council for Science and Technology Policy, which advises the government on science and technology policies, inspected the kit on Tuesday and recommended that the ministry should approve it. The ministry did so on Wednesday.

Phan Quoc Viet, CEO of Viet A, said his company could make 10,000 kits a day, and triple the capacity if needed.

Authorities said this capacity would enable Vietnam to not only meet domestic demand but also export.

China, the U.S., Japan, Germany, South Korea and now Vietnam are the only countries to make test kits for the new coronavirus.

As of Friday morning Vietnam has 68 people in quarantine for observation of suspected infection. More than 14,000 people are being monitored.

There have been no new cases reported since February 13, while all 16 infected people have been discharged from hospital, including two Chinese nationals and a Vietnamese-American.

People who return to Vietnam from stricken areas or have had direct contact with returnees from stricken areas and show Covid-19 symptoms are quarantined.

The global Covid-19 death toll climbed to 3,385 as of Friday morning, more than 3,000 in China, followed by Italy (148), Iran (108), South Korea (40), the U.S. (12), and Japan (12, including six on a cruise ship).

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