Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Virus testing ready to reach warp speed

Mar 13. 2020
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By The Nation

Thailand has 35 laboratories that can test 100-200 specimen samples a day for the Covid-19 virus and will soon open another 20, but there’s also a super-lab that can run 4,000 tests a day.

The facility, unveiled on Friday (March 13) by the Public Health Ministry’s Department of Medical Sciences, uses the rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method.

A large quantity of the chemical solution needed for the speedy testing will be imported next week, a department official said.

Expected to be available starting next month once it’s cleared by the Food and Drug Administration is a 15-minute Rapid Medic Kit also developed by the department.

It scans a blood sample taken from the fingertip or mucus swabbed from the throat and confirms either viral infection or sound health within minutes.

The kit costs about Bt1,000, while a lab test can cost Bt3,000 or more. 

Several hospitals are developing their own versions of test kits.

The Commerce Ministry has meanwhile asked the government of China for 1.8 million surgical facemasks and N95 masks.

Supplies for medical personnel are being depleted amid high public demand due to both the virus and heavy urban air pollution.

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