Rapid test kit for novel coronavirus excels in trial

A novel coronavirus rapid test kit that can identify infection among suspected patients in eight minutes by using 10 microliter of their blood sample has been providing excellent results in trial testing.

The new virus detection product, called Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia IgG/IgM Rapid Test Kit, was developed by Shanghai CagenBio Science Co, a Songjiang-based biotechnology firm, in mid-February.

“After a person is infected with novel coronavirus, his body generates a corresponding antibody. Through testing his blood sample to find if a certain antibody exists, we conclude whether the person has been infected with COVID-19,” said Luo Chaoling, CEO of CagenBio.

“Compared with the current nucleic acid detection reagents, the antibody testing kit is more convenient and saves time,” Luo added.

On February 25, the first batch of 400-person testing kits was delivered to the Wuhan-based Tongji Hospital affiliated to Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology for trial testing.

The trial resulted in an accuracy rate of above 90 percent.

“This boosts the confidence of our research team, who had worked overtime from February 2 to 15 to develop the kit. Soon a new batch of 500-person test kits, together with a data analytical machine, will be delivered to Wuhan for trial tests,” said Luo.

Luo, who has about 20 years’ experience in test kit research and development and was once engaged in antibody research in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou during the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003, founded CagenBio in 2013.