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HCM City, Quảng Ninh health institutes prove coronavirus infection testing capability

Update: February, 06/2020 - 10:06


A doctor at the general hospital in Thanh Hóa Province’s Thạch Thành District examines a person suspected of coronavirus infection. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Nam

HCM CITY — HCM City wants the Hospital of Tropical Diseases to test people with suspected symptoms of coronavirus infection and announce the results instead of sending samples to the Pasteur Institute for testing, and Department of Health has sought the approval of the Ministry of Health.

This would help reduce the overload on the Pasteur Institute, and the ministry should instead have the institute testing samples from hospitals across the southern region, the department said.

People who have travelled to China – especially Wuhan City, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak – are isolated and their clinical specimens are taken at designated hospitals. These specimens are then sent to the institute for testing.

The increasing number of samples is causing an overload and delaying testing.  

The Hospital of Tropical Diseases also has the capability to do these tests with labs meeting bio-safety level 3 standards that are verified every year by the General Department of Preventive Medicine.

It uses reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to diagnose coronavirus infection.

The RT-PCR machines are the same as the ones used by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hà Nội to test for the virus for the whole of the northern region.

In the north-eastern province of Quảng Ninh, Nguyễn Trọng Diện, the head of the Department of Health, said on Tuesday (February 4) his department had bought an automatic realtime RT-PCR machine for testing for coronavirus and installed it at the provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The centre has tested 11 samples as of February 4 but all proved negative for the coronavirus.

It has sent all 11 samples to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology for testing again to confirm the results.

If the results are confirmed, the department will begin to do all tests for coronavirus infection and install one more machine in Mống Cái city on the Chinese border.

The institute had transferred testing techniques and 50 sets of test kits to the centre.

The Ministry of Health on February 4 instructed health departments around the country to report their hospitals’ and Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s capacity to use the RT-PCR technique. — VNS

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