Brazil receives first COVID-19 tests bought from South Korea

The purchase included 10 million RT-PCR tests

Published in 23/04/2020 - 12:43 By Agência Brasil - Brasília

The first batch with 500 thousand to diagnose COVID-19, bought by the Health Ministry via the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), landed in Brazil on Wednesday (Apr. 22). State distribution begins this week.

Ten million RT PCT (molecular biology) tests were acquired, which identify coronavirus at the outset, when it is still active in the patient’s body. The remainder of the tests, produced by laboratory Seegene, in South Korea, will come in shipments, some 500 thousand a week.

The move is part of the Health Ministry plan to expand testing for the novel coronavirus in public hospitals. Over 2.5 million COVID-19 tests are reported to have been distributed across the country. Of this total, 524,536 thousand are RT-PCR tests, and 2 million are quick serology tests, which detect antibodies, and are used between the seventh and tenth day since the beginning of symptoms.

Health Minister Nelson Teich believes that testing is key to assessing the progress of the disease in Brazil before devising a plan. “We have to be quick enough to make the diagnosis and take action,” he said in a statement.

Approximately 3 million test already in Brazil should be distributed by next week, after legal procedures are concluded. Of these, 984 thousand are RT-PCR tests from Fiacruz (182.3 thousand) and PAHO (500 thousand), in addition to the donation of 300 thousand tests from Petrobras. Quick tests add up to 2 million and arrived in Brazil recently. They were donated by mining giant Vale.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Valéria Aguiar / Nira Foster

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