Seegene novel coronavirus test kit,, dubbed Allplex/Courtesy of Seegene

Domestic outfits churn out diagnostic kits for COVID-19

The fast spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, prompts governments from across the world to try desperately to secure medical staffers, medical equipment, and test kits.

In particular, almost all countries struggle to procure sufficient amounts of diagnostic kits with few exceptions like South Korea, which has successfully contained the epidemic.

The country, which has tested about 350,000 people since January, has a capacity of more than 15,000 tests a day. In terms of diagnostic reagents, it is believed that the nation can ship millions a week.

Understandably, the world is asking the Seoul administration to export the detection kits, including the United States, whose President made a request to his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in this week.

The Foreign Ministry said on March 27 that a total of 117 countries want to import made-in-Korea assay kits and medical equipment.

Five biotech companies roll out enough test kits to cover people here. They are Seegene (Allplex), Kogene Biotech (Power Check), SolGent (DiaPlex Q), SD Biosensor (Standard M), and BioSewoom (Real-Q).

They take advantage of a technology, which adopts the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), to come up with results in about six hours.

Seegene, which has gained great spotlight amid the virus threat, earlier said that the Seoul-based company exports up to 95 percent of its COVID-19 test kits to overseas countries.

The outfit is known to have developed the products by employing artificial intelligence.

Experts expect that the popularity of Korean diagnostic kits will continue to go up.

“A mounting number of foreign governments and companies ask for the exports of test kits. As far as test kits are concerned, Korea is now one of the global leaders,” said an industry source.