South Korean firm develop a test that detects coronavirus in 10 minutes

Most of the major economies are struggling to control the Wuhan virus in their region, but one country that stands out from the rest: South Korea. Utilizing big-data analysis, AI-based warning system & observation tools, Korea has already managed to bring coronavirus situation in the country under control in a short time.

One of the major reasons behind this is their strategy to aggressively boost the number of coronavirus tests per day. Recently a South Korean company reports that by using artificial intelligence they have developed a simple tester that it said could detect if a person is infected with coronavirus disease 2019 in just 10 minutes.

The company, PCL, a provider of in vitro diagnostic products, said its breakthrough testing kit, named COVID-19 Ag GICA Rapid, this testing kit can check nasal discharge for the presence of the virus within a period of time 10 minutes with an accuracy rate of more than 85 percent.

The testing can be done at home, just like a regular pregnancy test, which means it can eliminate the stigma and trauma of people who have to go to testing centers or clinics to have themselves checked if they suspect of having the virus. It also trims the risk of exposure to other people.

If the testing kit is approved, it could be the breakthrough that health authorities around the world need to control the spread of coronavirus and contain the disease as fast as possible.

Currently, the Korean government is using RT-PCR to check COVID 19 infection.

The said process is more accurate than COVID-19 Ag GICA, but it is time-consuming – six hours before a result is known – and can only be administered in hospitals or health centers.

PCL CEO Kim So-yeon was quoted as saying that the kit was developed using antibodies from China.

A user can put nasal discharge into the kit and then get the result in 10 minutes. Kim said the antigen diagnostic kit would be a complementary measure for a quick test.

“People infected with COVID 19 can spread the virus even at its earliest stage and at very mild symptoms, so the kit is a complementary test,” the company said.

The South Korean government is scrambling to contain the spread of the virus, after confirming 169 more cases on Wednesday, raising the total number of infections in the country to 1,146, and the death toll to 12.

Of the new patients, 153 were residents in Daegu, about 300 km southeast of the capital Seoul, and its surrounding North Gyeongsang province.

At least 501 cases were linked to the church services of a minor religious group, called Sincheonji, in Daegu.

At their services in the south-eastern city of Daegu, members likely infected one another and then fanned out around the country, apparently undetected.

As per reports, about 200 members of the said church were holding prayer sermons in Wuhan, where illness originated, until December when they noticed that people were starting to get ill with the unknown virus.

Meanwhile, analysts said the reason for a large number of confirmed patients in Korea is due to the high diagnostic ability, the democratic system, & free press, which continues to monitor the spread of the virus.

But as cases in Daegu continues to rise, more residents are fleeing the city, seeking shelter in other countries. In the Philippines, the local government of Cebu announced that it is now looking for 25 South Koreans who arrived in the province Tuesday night from Daegu.

The Philippines has already announced a temporary travel ban to and from Daegu.

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