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Global Times

China's COVID-19 testing capacity leading the world

Global Times

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/5 18:33:40

China's COVID-19 testing capacity can fully meet domestic demand and with a very high accuracy rate, authorities said Wednesday, and the most rapid nucleic acid testing products can deliver results within 30 minutes.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), China's daily COVID-19 nucleic acid testing capacity hit 4.84 million at the end of July, with 4,946 institutions and more than 38,000 technical staff now capable of carrying out tests. Nearly 200 million testing kits and 12,000 testing machines have been distributed nationwide.

The number far exceeds the daily tests run by the US. According to US media outlets, the country's COVID-19 testing labs are in crisis again over the lack of supplies, and according to the statistics from the Coronavirus Resource Center of John Hopkins University, the highest daily test capacity in the past three months in the US was only 920,000.

By comparison, China's testing capacity has successfully met the demand of 10 million people in Wuhan, Central China's Hunan Province, and more than 20 million in Beijing, according to the MIIT official.

The current capacity is enough to test "everyone that wants to get tested" and "everyone who needs to be tested," according to Bao Xianhua, an official from China's Ministry of Science and Technology.

Apart from traditional testing kits, China has focused on the development of rapid testing kits. According to China's National Products Administration Wednesday, it has thus far approved 44 COVID-19 testing kits from 36 enterprises, and seven were rapid nucleic acid testing kits.

The current fastest COVID-19 testing kit in China provides results in 30 minutes, authorities said, and the overall accuracy rate of nucleic acid testing in the country has reached 95 percent. Rapid testing kits are among China's top development priorities, with further kits expected to receive approval by the fall.

The rapid testing kits have drastically reduced the time it takes to detect infection. In the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, results were available a minimum of four hours after testing.

China's testing capacity stands out as one of the most advanced in the world, said Bao. The country's technology is level with the US and Europe, and the quality and speed of some Chinese products is the best in the world.

In terms of the speed in getting result after a test, China exceeds many developed countries in the world. In the UK, a COVID-19 test result is often expected in 72 hours, and in the US, the result can take up to a week before it is delivered.

China's producers of testing kits are growing exponentially. According to media reports, as of July 7, around 20 publicly listed companies are not only producing testing kits in China, but also exporting them overseas.

The exports are due to big technological advances over the past decades, a solid industrial base and an effective regulation system in China, a manager of a domestic genomics firm told the Global Times.

The manager, who asked for anonymity, said the nucleic acid test kits developed by mainstream companies in China are of world-class quality and accuracy, on a par with those developed by large foreign companies.

"We are currently doing more research to improve the testing kits, especially the testing capacity of the nucleic acid tests," another insider close to one of the testing kit producers told the Global Times.

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