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New Thai-made rapid Covid test to slash screening costs

Nov 06. 2020
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By The Nation

Thailand has developed its first rapid test for Covid-19 that provides results within a day, boosting the country’s fight against the disease.

Developed by the Medical Sciences Department, the new tests could cost as little as Bt100 each once commercially produced, compared to Bt300-Bt500 for imported versions.

The Thai-made rapid test kits use the immunoaffinity method to read serum samples from plasma and blood from the fingertips, explained Supakit Sirilak, department acting director-general.

Once approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the test kits will be used by clinicians to screen people who have had symptoms for more than 15 days.

Produced in conjunction with Siam BioScience, they use the real-time RT PCR technique, recognised by the World Health Organisation.

Currently, 236 Covid-19 laboratories nationwide are checking more than 20,000 samples per day – 10,000 daily in Bangkok alone.

The new test kit is more than 90 per cent accurate, with FDA approval expected to take about one month. The department has a production capacity of 3,000 tests per week but is ready to transfer the technology to commercial producers.

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