China's nucleic acid testing capacity reaches 4.84M per day
A medical staff member (L) collects a worker's throat swab sample at a COVID-19 nucleic acid testing facility set up temporarily on a construction site in Haidian District of Beijing, June 26, 2020. (Photo/Xinhua)
By the end of July, China had increased its daily nucleic acid testing (NAT) capacity to 4.84 million. A total of 4,946 medical institutions, manned by more than 38,000 technicians, are now capable of conducting the test to identify the presence of COVID-19.
On Aug. 5, Wang Jiangping, vice-minister of industry and information technology, highlighted these figures at a State Council policy routine briefing on improving the country's capabilities hosted by the State Council Information Office (SCIO).
Wang noted that nearly 200 million NAT kits and more than 12,000 sets of testing equipment cumulatively had been distributed to all levels of hospitals and centers for disease control and prevention, customs and ports, along with third party testing agencies, ensuring completion of testing for 10 million residents in Wuhan and Beijing respectively.
Additionally, these medical supplies have also supported the testing for outsiders entering Shanghai municipality and the provinces of Heilongjiang and Guangdong, and handling the recent emergency of cluster infections in Dalian city and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, among others. Therefore, those who should undergo the test or have voluntarily sought it have all been checked.
"According to the Clinical Testing Center of the National Health Commission's (NHC) assessment of relevant listed products, the overall detection rate of our nucleic acid testing kits has reached more than 95 percent." said Bao Xianhua, director general of Department of Research Commercialization and Regional Innovation of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Bao also noted the sensitivity of NAT kits in China had been constantly improving, with continuously shortened detection time, increasingly automated testing equipment and more various testing products.
Thanks to these critical breakthroughs achieved by China, the performance indicators of its testing kits and equipment have been continuously increasing.
Citing NAT, Bao said test results now only take about one hour to be achieved, compared with more than four hours when applying the traditional method; indeed, one testing product has proved able to offer results in 30 minutes, the fastest of its kind.
Meanwhile, as the integrated test of "sample in, result out" becomes a reality, the testing process is now far more convenient and safer.
Moreover, the variety and category of detection products are also constantly being enriched, ranging from small portable products to joint products that can detect six common respiratory viruses including COVID-19, thus making application possible in different scenarios.
Apart from NAT, China has developed and launched a batch of antibody testing products offering results in only 15 minutes or so. With NAT kits applied in conjunction with antibody testing products, the detection rate can be further boosted.
"In general, China's research on and development of testing kits has formed a technical system covering a variety of technology routes and product lines.
"Our technical level and product performance can rival those of developed countries such as those in Europe and the United States, and some products are even leading the way. In this sense, the testing needs of the current epidemic prevention and control in China are basically being served." Bao said.
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