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Bio companies expand production for new coronavirus testing kits

By XING YI in Shanghai | | Updated: 2020-01-24 19:40
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Biological product companies have expanded production for detection kits of the new coronavirus, and sent the equipment to local disease control centers in epidemic areas.

GeneoDx Biotech, a Shanghai-based pharmaceutical company, told Xinhua News Agency on Friday it has sent 1,000 boxes of new coronavirus detection kits, which can test 50,000 suspected patients, to Wuhan in central Hubei province.

It has expanded its production capacity since Thursday and delivered detection kits that can test around 20,000 people to centers for disease prevention and control in Wuhan, and the company will operate around the clock to continue producing detection kits for 120,000 people, Xinhua reported.

The company is a subsidiary of Sinopharm Group, and one of three companies designated by National Health Commission to produce detection kits for the new virus.

The other two designated companies are Shanghai BioGerm Medical Biotechnology and Shanghai Huirui Biotechnology.

Workers at BioGerm have returned to production lines during the Spring Festival holiday, and employees took trains or planes to deliver detection kits across the country, news portal The Paper reported on Thursday.

Other companies are also contributing to the production of testing kits for local authorities affected by the epidemic.

PerkinElmer, an American diagnostics solutions provider and the mother company of Longrun Bio-Tech, said on its WeChat account it has immediately convened technical strength to develop testing solutions for the coronavirus.

It will provide free detection devices, including chemagic Prepito-D, a fast and compact instrument for automated DNA and RNA isolation, and nucleic acid detection kits (RT-PCR probe) to disease control centers in areas with confirmed and suspected cases of the coronavirus.

Shanghai Kehua Bio-Engineering, a listed company on the SME board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, said on its website it developed the testing kit on Jan 12, and provided products to Wuhan and other areas.

Ding Wei, president of Kehua Bio-Engineering, said on Shanghai Television on Thursday it takes 1.5 to 2 hours for testing and the accuracy of the detector is above 99 percent.

Confirmed infection cases jumped to 1287 as of midnight on Jan 24 as the virus has killed 41 so far, according to China's National Health Commission.

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