Jan 31, 2020 / 17:13

Vietnam seeks to produce nCoV test kits

The Hanoitimes - Local health experts said that test kits would greatly help Vietnam deal with the situation.

The Vietnamese government has asked scientists to produce test kits for the new coronavirus (nCoV) which has killed more than 200 people in China as of January 31.

 Vietnam is making efforts to produce test kits

Addressing at a meeting chaired by the Ministry of Science and Technology on January 30, Prof. Nguyen Van Kinh, former director of National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, said it’s necessary to conduct research and produce test kits to screen suspected cases and test them to make sure they are positive or not with the virus.

Scientifically, producing test kits will enable Vietnam to confirm the nCoV infection in a shorter time, Kinh said.

Currently, Vietnam is facing the shortage of test kits, Kinh said, adding that the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided Vietnam 30 test kits, insufficient for 68 suspected cases found in the country so far.

Kinh express concern that the epidemic is starting in Vietnam but the country does not have knowledge on that strain of virus except for the first cases found by Ho Chi Minh City-based Pasteur Institute. The difficulty is that China does not share the virus with any country except Russia. So it’s impossible for Vietnam to produce vaccines against it.

Prof. Phan Trong Lan said Vietnam is able to produce test kits thanks to researches based on nCoV from the first patients who are two Chinese nationals confirmed positive with the virus a week ago.

The locally-made test kits could be used within a week to curb the epidemic, Prof. Lan affirmed.

Regarding the production of vaccines against the virus, Dr. Do Tuan Dat, director of state-owned Vaccine and Biological Production Company No.1 (VABIOTECH), said local health experts are working with international scientists but the research will take at least three months.

So far, VABIOTECH has worked with British partners in the production of vaccines.

As of January 31, three Vietnamese citizens tested positive with nCoV. They all returned to the country from China’s Wuhan city where the nCoV broke out in December 2019.