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Made-in-Vietnam test kits for 2019-nCoV to be produced next week

Sunday, February 09, 2020, 16:44 GMT+7
Made-in-Vietnam test kits for 2019-nCoV to be produced next week
An image of the novel coronavirus grown in a cell culture from a sick patient in Vietnam. Photo: Lan Anh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam is expected to produce locally made test kits for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by the end of next week.

At least two teams of researchers have been working to develop test kits for the 2019-nCoV following a request from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

One of the teams is from the Vietnam Military Medical University, while the other from a Vietnam-based unit specializing in medical tests.

The test kits will utilize the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Real-time PCR techniques, according to a representative of the research groups.

Current test kits in Vietnam are provided by the World Health Organization and some other international organizations.

Each test requires three sample wells with complicated procedures and high costs of chemicals.

“Our test kits will only require one sample wells, while the procedures will also be simpler for a lower cost,” the representative elaborated.

The kits will be released by the end of next week, which is one week sooner than originally planned.

Aside from these researchers, another team of scientists led by Dr. Le Quang Hoa and Dr. Nguyen Le Thu Ha are working on a test kit for the 2019-nCoV using the Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) technique.

The team started their project on January 13, after the genome of the novel coronavirus was sequenced.

The LAMP technique is about 30 minutes faster compared to the PCR and Real-time PCR techniques, the scientists stated.

They previously developed a test kit for the African swine fever which hit Vietnam in 2019.

The novel coronavirus, which first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has killed 813 people and infected more than 37,550 globally as of Sunday.

Vietnam has so far confirmed 14 positive cases, including eleven Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.

Among them, one Chinese and two Vietnamese had fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital as of Thursday. They were all treated for free.

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