Vietnam now tests for coronavirus in 24 hours

By Chi Le   March 4, 2020 | 02:00 am PT
Vietnam now tests for coronavirus in 24 hours
The area for taking coronavirus test samples at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, January 31, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The time it takes Vietnamese experts to test for coronavirus infection has come down from four or five days to one.

It now takes experts at Hanoi's National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) just 10-11 hours to make an accurate diagnosis from DNA sequencing.

At the beginning of the outbreak patients had to wait several days for the result.

NIHE has built up large stocks of test kits for screening Vietnamese nationals returning from South Korea, one of the main epidemic-hit nations and with a death toll so far of 33. A Vietnamese is among the 5,328 diagnosed there as infected as of Wednesday.

Vuong Duc Cuong, a researcher at NIHE's virology department, said the institute currently receives around 70 samples a day on average, requiring its personnel to work overtime to deliver results quickly.

After cultivating and isolating the virus, NIHE transfers positive samples to a number of units to develop rapid test kits.

The state-owned Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 company has already started research to find vaccines using the samples.

There are 30 facilities including hospitals approved by the Ministry of Health to test for Covid-19, and all of them use NIHE test kits.

On Wednesday the number of people suspected to have the coronavirus infection in Vietnam was 77. None of them are in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Da Nang, the country’s three largest cities.

Over 10,000 people have so far been quarantined in field hospitals or monitored.

While no new cases have been detected since February 13 in Vietnam, and all 16 who had tested positive have been discharged, the global death toll continues to climb, with the epidemic now reaching 76 countries and territories.

The death toll is 3,203, 2981 in mainland China, 79 in Italy, 77 in Iran, 33 in South Korea, nine in the U.S., and 12 in Japan, including six on a cruise ship.

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