Vietnam ensures locally-made coronavirus antigen-testing bio-products

(VOVWORLD) - Following the success in coronavirus isolation and the testing methods accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the virus gene, Vietnam has successfully studied antigen-testing bio-products or quick coronavirus test kits with accuracy of up to 95%. This ensures the country will have enough made-in-Vietnam bio-products to diagnose and expand testing for all citizens. 
Vietnam ensures locally-made coronavirus antigen-testing bio-products - ảnh 1 A COVID-19 test kit is jointly developed and produced by the Vietnam Military Medical University and Viet A Corporation.

Currently two methods of coronavirus testing are used in the world - the RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) technique and antibody diagnosis, or serology tests.

RT-PCR tests look for the virus’s genetic material in samples collected from patients’ throats or noses, while antibody tests, rather than looking for the virus itself, detect antibodies or proteins in the blood that our bodies develop in order to fight it off.

The COVID-19 test kits jointly developed and produced by the Vietnam Military Medical University and Viet A Corporation in March are mainly used in Vietnam to detect the virus.

The kits have been approved by the WHO and exported to Finland, Ukraine, Cambodia, and Poland.

According to the Health Ministry, Hanoi is the only place in Vietnam to use Korean biological products sponsored by enterprises for antibody testing. Of the more than 18,000 tested cases, 50 were confirmed positive for the virus, whose test results re-made by the PCR method showed negative.

The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology has coordinated with Japan’s Nagasaki University to develop antibody-based test kits with better accuracy than most rapid-result kits available on the market.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said that this success helps Vietnam become the fifth country in the world after China, Japan, South Korea, and the US to produce the kit.

“We have successfully studied the test kit with sensitivity and specificity reaching 90% to 95%. Documents have been submitted to the Health Ministry for licensing,” said Long.

According to the Health Ministry, the Vietnamese quick test kit is easy to use for all medical facilities, especially when utilizing the widely available ELISA systems. 

Vietnam’s healthcare system is already equipped with plenty of ELISA machines to diagnose dengue, HIV/AIDS, and immune diseases.

Professor Dang Duc Anh, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said: “The Elisa technique or the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is used to specify the antibodies of infected people. If a patient's sample is taken on the 8th day since infecting the virus, it will take less time.

"The method allows testing multiple samples at a time. The success makes Vietnam one of the first countries to produce the test kits and proactive in future epidemic prevention,” he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that Vietnam's quick test kits can completely replace similar imported products. 

“Once the kit is recognized and put into commercial production, Vietnam can perform tests using both the PCR method and antibody diagnosis. We will not need to buy additional equipment, not mentioning our product has a low price. Vietnam will confidently outline a completely made-in-Vietnam testing strategy with high accuracy,” said Mr. Dam.

The price of the test kit is estimated at about 5 USD each, much cheaper than imported products.

The Hanoi-based Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (POLYVAC) can produce between 50,000 and 100,000 kits to serve the fight against COVID-19.

Following the Health Ministry’s licensing, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology will register the product with the WHO for international circulation.