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COVID-19: First Russian express coronavirus test planned to be supplied to Europe, Asia, US

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NOVOSIBIRSK, (TASS/GMP) Russia’s Medical Biological Union (MBU), the developer of the first Russian certified express test for coronavirus, is planning to supply these tests to countries in Europe and Southeast Asia as well as the United States, said the press service for Academpark (Russia’s hi-tech innovation center) where the MBU is listed as resident.

Per earlier reports, the express test created by Novosibirsk’s MBU was the first Russian test to receive official certification.

"Supplies are already carried out to many regions and many Russian backbone enterprises, the geography [of supplies] is expanded daily. Supplies to European, Southeast Asian states and the United States are also planned," the statement says.

It is noted that the test is created based on the company’s own innovation research. The test takes 40 minutes to return a result with more than 94% accuracy. Therefore, productivity of diagnostic laboratories can be increased fourfold. Scientists are planning to produce up to 500,000 tests a week after reaching the project’s expected capabilities.

In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

This Russian made express coronavirus test was first registered by the Generium bio-pharmaceutical company, located in Russia’s Vladimir Region, the first Russian-made coronavirus infection express test, developed by the Medical Biological Union Group, the company announced April 6.

“Generium’s innovative coronavirus express test, developed by the Medical Biological Union company, has been registered by the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare. This is the first domestic-made express test, which enables the detection of the coronavirus with 94% precision within 40 minutes using standard equipment,” the company claimed.

The company explained that, unlike other tests, based on the polymerase chain reaction, the new test system uses the loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method. Its implementation reduces the analysis time by more than 66%, and also reduces the chance of an accidental specimen switch thanks to the reduced number of preparation stages.

The company plans to produce up to 500,000 tests per week.

“Our current [production] capabilities are minimal right now, but we plan to increase it to 500,000 tests per week,” the source said, without providing additional details.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 1,400,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 82,000 deaths have been reported. That said, over 300,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, a total of 8,672 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 580 patients having recovered from the virus. Moscow accounts for the majority of cases (5,841). The country’s latest data indicates 63 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.

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