Vietnamese scientists design Covid-19 test kit

10:20 | 02/04/2020 Science - Technology

(VEN) -  Vietnam has joined a handful of countries that have developed a test kit to detect the current strain of Coronavirus infecting the world. The kit, developed and manufactured by scientists from the Vietnam Military Medical Academy and Viet A Technology Joint Stock Company, can detect the virus within two hours.

vietnamese scientists design covid 19 test kit
Vietnamese scientists design Covid-19 test kit for domestic, foreign use

Vietnam can produce thousands of such kits daily, meeting its own domestic demand as well as foreign demand. Cambodia, Nigeria, Poland, Australia, Germany, Finland, the Ukraine, Italy, Turkey and Ireland, among other countries, have expressed interest in the made-in-Vietnam kits.

The kit is based on a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, a technique that combines the reverse transcription of RNA into DNA with the amplification of specific DNA targets using a polymerase chain reaction. It can detect the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, in droplets obtained from the respiratory tract and blood samples.

Phan Quoc Viet, General Manager of the Viet A Technology Joint Stock Company, said the company had already received many orders for the kit set. Its production capacity is estimated at about 10,000 sets a day and if necessary can be increased threefold to meet domestic and export demand, he added. With production cost of the kit financed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the current price is only VND400,000-600,000 a set.

The research and production technology of the kit meet ISO standards. It was tested according to four criteria: sensitivity, specificity, accuracy and repeatability and was found to have similar results to biological kits produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The National Technology Science Council established by the Ministry of Science and Technology evaluated the results of the research on March 3, 2020, and approved its licensing by the Ministry of Health.

Pham Cong Tac, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, emphasized that to manufacture a kit ensuring sufficient reliability, safety and mass production to detect Covid-19 was a complex task. It not only affirms the level of Vietnamese scientists, but also confirms the timely mobilization of both the political system and the Ministry of Science and Technology and other organizations for the life-saving endeavor.

The research project on manufacturing biological kit is an independent national science and technology project. It is the first time that Vietnam has successfully produced such a kit in large quantities and with the same quality as other countries in the world, among them China, the US, Japan and Germany.

Quynh Nga