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Kazakhstan to produce over 6,000 coronavirus tests by May

7 April 2020 17:12
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Kazakhstan to produce over 6,000 coronavirus tests by May

NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM «Kazakh scientists achieved visible progress in a battle against coronavirus pandemic. Scientists developed the PCR coronavirus tests. Now Kazakhstan may fully provide for the country’s needs for tests,» director general of the National Centre for Expertise of Medicines, Medical Devices Arnur Nurtayev told in an interview with Kazinform Agency.


Could you tell us about this achievement? How long does it take to develop express tests? Who participated in its development?


There are two key directions such as diagnostics and screening. Diagnostics help detect those infected with the coronavirus. In this case it is necessary to use the PCR tests. The PCR is a polymerase chain reaction. The sample taken from suspected coronavirus patient is sent to laboratory then. The PCR tests detect the coronavirus for sure, it may reveal up to 100 copies of the virus. Sometimes people infected with the coronavirus may not show symptoms. The PCR tests may reveal virus during the incubation period which lets isolate the patient, monitor and treat him. If the patient has already got sick, his body has antibodies (immunity to the virus). It means the body understood how to fight the virus. Antibodies let people not to contract the virus at all or have mild symptoms if infected once again. Express tests cannot detect coronavirus, the tests identify if a person has antibodies to the virus.

No one has earlier developed express tests in Kazakhstan. The National Centre of Biotechnologies in Almaty developed the PCR tests to trace the virus in a short period of time. At the close of January Kazakhstan made 2,500 own tests.


When will be made the first batch of the PCR tests?


It is expected that the first batch of the country’s PCR tests up to 6,000-7,000 will be made by May 1. The PCR tests will be used at laboratories to find the copies of the virus. The WHO validated Kazakhstan-made tests, indicators are absolutely identical. The PCR tests may identify coronavirus with 99.5% probability.


Should a person get retested if earlier tested negative?


I know for a fact that the PCR tests are accurate and reliable. Tests will reveal virus if a person is infected. Testing may also give a weak positive result. In such a case the WHO and test producers recommend to retest.

A person with COVID-19 symptoms in Kazakhstan must be hospitalized, pursuant to the decree of the chief sanitary doctor. He will be tested for the virus at the hospital. There is no sense to take the paid tests. As of today all suspected coronavirus cases are subject to take tests. The country bought more than 320,000 tests. About 60,000 tests were already used.


Could you tell us about tests developed by Kazakhstani scientists? Will domestic production meet domestic needs?

Kazakhstan may produce about 50,000 tests a month. We plan to test about 250,000-300,000 people a month. It is more than enough.


Thank you for the interview!



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