Taiwan could be within touching distance of production of a COVID-19 test kit, that if brought into service would be the world’s fastest method with which to detect the virus.
Sources earlier today in Taiwan indicate the National Health Research Institute (NHRI) in Miaoli has successfully produced a system that can detect the base strain of the virus currently causing havoc worldwide.
Whilst actual clinical testing of the test kit is still not on the horizon, an NHRI meeting after the Tomb Sweeping holidays in Taiwan could possibly see companies capable of producing the kit start to do so on a trial basis according to reports.
Vice president of the NHRI, Sytwu Huey Kang, today claimed that SARS antibodies can now be used to check for the current coronavirus strain.
Taiwan was hit hard by the 2003, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which eventually killed 73 of 346 individuals infected.
Over 8,400 died worldwide at the time, the vast majority in two countries – China and Hong Kong.
If production and ultimately testing take place, a relatively simple sample swab could reveal whether or not a patient is infected with the coronavirus. This could be achieved in as little as 15 minutes.
Efforts in other countries to develop fast and effective tests for the virus last week saw a Finnish company claim to have a test working effectively that can reveal the presence of coronavirus in just 20 minutes although they did lack funding for further large scale research.
Taiwan is already one of the world’s leading nations in developing ‘know-how’ regarding approaches to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is seen in many forms but most prominently in its overall numbers of infected and COVID-19 related deaths; at time of writing just 339 cases of infection with five deaths from a population of around 24 million.