The National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) yesterday said it has developed a rapid-testing kit that can screen people for SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19, while the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said that such products have to be approved.
NHRI vice president Sytwu Huey-kang (司徒惠康) said that after more than a month of research, it has been shown that antibodies for SARS can also be used in the screening process for SARS-CoV-2.
The results can be produced in 10 to 15 minutes, Sytwu said.
Photo: AFP / National Institutes of Health
The NHRI is testing a number of coronaviruses to determine whether the reagent could be an exclusive test for COVID-19, he said.
The institutes next week would hold a meeting with businesses to discuss trial production of the kits, he said.
However, it is still uncertain when the kits might be ready for clinical use, he said.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) told the CECC’s daily news briefing yesterday that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would have to verify the NHRI’s product, as well as others introduced by private companies abroad.
The CDC would help accelerate commercialization if they prove effective, said Chen, who also heads the CECC.
In other developments, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) posted on Facebook yesterday that US biotechnology company Gilead Sciences began clinical research collaboration with experts in Taiwan on potential treatment options.
The AIT did not name any drug in the post, but the company is known for developing remdesivir, a drug hoped to be a treatment for COVID-19.
“Gilead’s clinical trials in Asia are also taking place in China, Japan, S[outh] Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. Last week, AIT and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced enhanced efforts to cooperate on addressing the spread of COVID-19. Scientific cooperation like this is one of the great examples of how we #StriveTogetherThriveTogether,” the AIT wrote.
Additional reporting by Lin Chia-nan
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