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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s virus testing goes to the next level

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: - Centres for Disease control and Prevention

There are currently 35 labs in Thailand that can test up to 200 specimens daily, and 20 more are expected to open soon. But there’s now a “superlab” that can perform 4000 tests per day. The facility, unveiled today by the Public Health Ministry’s Department of Medical Sciences, will use the Rapid Polymerase Chain reaction method of testing. A department official says a large quantity of the chemicals needed for the rapid testing will be imported next week.

Also 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 blood taken from the fingertip or mucus swabbed from the throat and provides results within minutes.

The kit will cost about 1000 baht, while a lab test can cost 3000 baht or more. Several Thai hospitals are developing their own version of test kits.

The Commerce Ministry has meanwhile asked the Chinese government for 1.8 million surgical masks and N95 masks, as supplies for medical personnel are being depleted amid high public demand, due both to the virus and to heavy urban air pollution.

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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