Vietnam seeks to produce test kits for coronavirus

By Bich Ngoc   January 31, 2020 | 04:16 pm PT
Vietnam seeks to produce test kits for coronavirus
Chinese workers in protective suits make detection kits for coronavirus in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province, China. Photo by Reuters.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has called on scientists to help deal with the new coronavirus, saying making test kits is a priority.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Pham Cong Tac met leading experts in epidemiology, vaccines and other related fields this week to discuss the nCoV epidemic.

Tac called for an extensive investigation into the source of the disease, modes of transmission and others. There is no conclusive understanding of the Wuhan virus yet.

Nguyen Van Kinh, chairman of the Vietnam Society of Infectious Diseases (VSID), said Vietnam must produce its own biological test kit to avoid relying too much on international support and enable it to thoroughly screen people.

Phan Trong Lan, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute, and Tran Dac Phu, former director of the General Department of Preventive Medicine, also agreed that the country should make its own test kits.

Do Tuan Dat, director of the state-owned Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 (VABIOTECH) company, said it would take at least three months to develop a vaccine for the nCoV virus.

The company has sought help from the U.K. to make the genome for the vaccine, he said.

China's National Medical Products Administration recently approved new test kits for the coronavirus, according to media reports.

In Vietnam, five people have contracted the disease, three locals coming from Wuhan and two Chinese.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that an animal is most likely the primary source of the virus. China says the virus could have come from a market in Wuhan where wildlife was traded illegally.

WHO estimated the virus' incubation period to be two to 14 days.

The new coronavirus can be transmitted from person to person, most likely through close contact via particles in the air from coughing or sneezing, or by someone touching an infected person or object with the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.

WHO has declared the outbreak a global public health emergency.

The virus has spread from mainland China to Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, the U.S., South Korea, France, Germany, Canada, Vietnam, the UAE, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines, the U.K., Russia and Spain.

Chinese authorities said more than 11,000 people have contracted the infection and 259 people had died as of Saturday morning.

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