First Taiwan-developed coronavirus antibody test approved

Test kit helps paint clearer picture of herd immunity status and contribute to better disease control

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(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A domestically-developed antibody test for the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been approved by the Taiwanese authorities.

The first test of its kind in Taiwan, it helps paint a clearer picture of herd immunity status and contributes to better disease control. According to the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the test kit manufactured by Excelsior Bio-System Incorporation (EBS) can detect antibodies in blood samples in just 10 to 15 minutes, with an accuracy rate exceeding 90 percent, wrote CNA.

An individual with coronavirus will test positive using the method after contracting the disease for seven to 10 days, said the company. However, more tests are needed for better diagnosis as the mechanism may not work for people during early-stage infections, FDA cautioned.

A collaboration between the biotech company and the National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH), the screening tool is significant in that it can pinpoint asymptomatic patients who have generated antibodies to COVID-19 but have never exhibited symptoms. This serves to provide insight into community transmissions for the authorities, so they can effectively adjust disease prevention measures and for further epidemiology research.

The test kit is now ready to enter mass production, with monthly manufacturing capacity expected to reach 400,000 in August, said the company. It's eying export orders while meeting domestic demand.

Last month, the National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung announced it had developed the quick test, Easy Vial. It is said to be able to identify asymptomatic patients in 15 minutes with a droplet of blood and no professional assistance required.