Vietnam Military Medical University and Viet A Corporation, the test kits maker, have said they have shipped 50 kits to Ukraine and 100 kits to Finland for registration in the host countries before official exports can begin.
Countries like Cambodia, Nigeria, Poland, Australia, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Ireland have requested for this Vietnam-made test kits — something that comes as a big boost to the Asian nation in its medical diplomacy efforts.
Authorities in Hanoi have also purchased 4,000 test kit for local use and export to Italy, the European country hardest hit by COVID-19 so far.
According to the manufacturers, a Vietnamese COVID-19 test kit provides for 50 tests and is priced at $ 17- $26 per test. These kits can deliver results in two hours.
India’s leading Southeast Asia expert Baladas Ghoshal told Easternlink in Delhi that India would have done much better to order these kits from Vietnam rather than waste its money on Chinese kits which turned out faulty and could not be used, instead getting Delhi embroiled in a war of words with Beijing.
The Vietnamese producers told this writer they are capable of manufacturing 200 test kits, which equals 10,000 tests per day. Phan Quoc Viet, CEO of Viet A, said his company could make 10,000 kits a day, and triple the capacity if needed.
Vietnamese health department officials say this capacity will meet both local demand and export requirements.
The kits are currently in use at some medical units in the central city of Da Nang and the northern province of Bac Giang, as well as labs at Bach Mai Hospital and Hanoi Medical University.
Hue Central Hospital in Thua Thien-Hue province and Thai Nguyen National General Hospital in the namesake northern province are also using these kits.
More than 40 hospitals and centres for disease control in Vietnam are in line to buy the test kits.
While speaking in an online meeting on fighting the disease , Ho Chi Minh City health director Nguyen Tan Binh said the city had prepared 3,000 test kits for mass testing.
The southern metropolis will stock around 10,000 COVID-19 test kits by the end of this month and the storage will touch 50,000 kits by June, Binh said.
The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 3.5 million people and killed more than 2,47,000 globally, according to Ministry of Health Statistics.
Vietnam has so far confirmed 271 COVID-19 cases, of which 216 have recovered and the rest are undergoing treatment.
The Ministry of Health has also licensed commercial production of test kits that can diagnose the virus infection in just an hour.
Do Quyet, director of the Hanoi university, said all tests done by the university and Viet A Corporation found the kit to be upto standards prescribed by the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The kit is based on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), a technique that combines reverse transcription of RNA into DNA and amplifies specific DNA targets using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology has tested the kit independently using five different devices for various disease/virus samples and found accurate results, Do Quyet said.
The National Council for Science and Technology Policy, which advises the government on science and technology policies, has also inspected the kit on Tuesday and recommended the ministry’s approval.
China, USA, Japan, Germany, South Korea and now Vietnam are the only countries to make coronavirus test kits.
The National Steering Committee has also received a letter from 78 Vietnamese non-governmental organizations (NGO) in gratitude and support for its urgent, effective, and transparent measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the letter sent to the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 prevention and Control, the NGOs have applauded the determination of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his government for protecting community health even though short-term economic benefits were sacrificed.
The letter also conveyed support to the Vietnamese government in helping disadvantaged and affected people.