Turkish doctors develop faster coronavirus test kit
A new coronavirus test developed by Turkish doctors will yield faster diagnoses, an official from Turkey's National Virology Laboratory told reporters on Monday.
"The new system, which originally worked in 90 minutes, allows us to work faster by using domestic components," Dr. Gülay Körüklüoğlu, speaking on behalf of the Health Ministry, said in Ankara, Turkey's capital.
Last week Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Turkish doctors are working on a kit that would give results in 75 minutes, compared to three hours for some other kits.
After seeing the World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups design specific tests for coronavirus, Körüklüoğlu said they are looking into a pan-coronavirus test that would detect COVID-19, the strain that is spreading now.
Twelve scientists from the Virology Lab are working on the coronavirus, she added.
-TEST KIT USES DOMESTIC RESOURCES
On the advantages of the new kit, Körüklüoğlu said, "Up to now we used to order the necessary equipment from abroad and even in the most urgent cases we had to wait for at least one to two months.
"Now, thanks to the domestic test system, we can get any equipment delivered from Istanbul in a day. The test also costs less now. This helps us use our resources more economically."
They also used domestically produced enzymes, she said.
"We can also modify and develop various versions of the test here. Using the kit is quicker now. We started a trial run and got successful results. We always look out for safety first."
On 42 citizens of Turkey and nearby countries airlifted last month from China and brought to Ankara, where they recently finished a two-week quarantine, Körüklüoğlu gave them all a clean bill of health.
"We took four samples from the individuals, on the first, third, seventh and last day of the quarantine," she said.
"The last of our samples also came out negative."
The coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan in December 2019 and since has spread to more than 20 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain, and India.
As of the end of Sunday, the death toll in mainland China reached 1,770, with at least 70,548 total cases reported.
There are no reported cases of coronavirus in Turkey.