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Japan’s Toyobo develops test kit to detect coronavirus within 1 hour

Japanese fiber and biotechnology firm Toyobo Co. said Monday it has developed a test kit capable of detecting the new pneumonia-causing coronavirus within 60 minutes.

The company’s “SARS-CoV-2 Detection Kit” successfully reduced the time it takes to extract the specific genetic material of the virus and multiply it for detection, it said.

Current polymerase chain reaction tests usually take about 30 minutes to 2 hours to extract the genetic material and then an additional 2 hours to multiply and detect it.

“We would like to contribute to curbing the new pneumonia-causing infection by supporting research institutes,” a Toyobo official said.

The company also hopes the technology that enables the fast multiplication of the genetic material of the virus will lead to the early development of an effective therapeutic drug and vaccine against the new coronavirus that is sweeping across the globe.

The testing kits will be available for researchers at universities, pharmaceutical companies and other institutions across the country for 90,000 yen ($830) and include 100 tests per kit, according to Toyobo.

Japan is planning to raise its testing capacity to about 20,000 tests per day, and many companies in the country have been developing new test kits by utilizing their technologies.

However, critics point out that it will take some time to realize the practical application of the new tests since personnel at the facilities conducting the testing will need some training to ensure accurate results.

Among those firms coming up with new test kits, Shimadzu Corp., a Japanese precision equipment maker, has said it will begin sales of its PCR test kit with simplified procedures, which enables testing in about an hour, from April 20 in Japan. The kit is priced at 225,000 yen per unit for 100 specimens.

The company may export the test kits in May or later, it said.

 

@KYODO

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