|The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control affirms that the testing strategy plays a vital role in combating the coronavirus pandemic
During a meeting held on September 3, the Committee stated that if there is an effective testing strategy in place, then it will be safe to bring in foreign experts to work, as well as hosting a wide range of political, economic, social, and cultural activities as a way of securing national interests.
With regard to antigen testing technology that produce rapid results and their ability to detect new novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, there are three units and domestic research institutes which are in the process of developing this technology. At present they are in the final steps as they strive to get the product finished.
Upon discussing the expansion of fresh bio-products and testing techniques used globally, the Steering Committee and business representatives affirmed that the production of quick test kits that have a high accuracy is essential due to the nation being keen to welcome a greater number of arrivals moving forward.
Indeed, the fast antigen test is able to detect new cases, with the view that a "mistake is better than missing". As such, Germany has already ordered a Vietnamese enterprise to conduct a rapid test study, with the accuracy being equivalent to the RT-PCR test method. In addition, Medicon Company, has researched rapid antibody testing and is in the process of developing a rapid antigen test.
Dao Dinh Khoi, company director of Medicon, said, “We need both fast antibody tests and fast antigen tests for epidemic prevention because fast antibody tests can only detect cases after seven days from the start of the disease. As for the fast antigen test, it can be detected sooner.”
According to a Ministry of Health representative, the health sector will continue to perform the RT-PCR method as a means of accurately diagnosing COVID-19 cases, in addition to antibody tests by using an ELIZA machine. This will be done to assess the epidemiological and community immunological situation in epidemic-hit areas and those which have been free from the epidemic.
|Dao Dinh Khoi, Medicon company director (L)
Most notably, it will continue to expand the research and production of new bio-products and testing techniques being used worldwide, including rapid tests for antigen detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Furthermore, cases that are detected using the rapid antibody test have a high probability of survivability. If a case is missed, then it could pose a severe danger due to the increased threat of the spread of the virus. Currently, there is a fast antigen test being deployed in Japan that has a very small margin of error, allowing the East Asian nation to potentially open air routes and keen cases under control.
The National Steering Committee therefore requested that the Ministry of Science and Technology move to assign relevant agencies and enterprises to research and produce quick antigen test kits due to the country successfully producing bio-products for RT-PCR testing.
Head of the Steering Committee and Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam asked the Ministry of Health to support domestic enterprises as they produce fast antigen tests. This should be done alongside developing a fresh strategy for testing which is to be submitted to the National Steering Committee in the near future.
Deputy PM Dam notes that the nation has fully prepared materials, equipment, and human resources, while emphasising that it is necessary to devise a plan to order rapid antigen tests from abroad while waiting for domestic production.