Vietnam improves SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity hinh anh 1Samples for COVID-19 testing in Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam has adequate testing techniques to detect and diagnose the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including Real time RT-PCR, antibody and rapid antigen tests, according to Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan.

He made the remark at a teleconference on May 13 with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the Pasteur Institute, and testing establishments of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Thuan said laboratories nationwide are now capable of testing 100,000 single samples per day, and the capacity can increase by five- to ten-fold when it comes to pooled testing.

Improving testing capacity

Vietnam has mastered testing techniques to detect and diagnose the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, including the Read time RT-PCR for confirmatory testing, rapid antigen testing, and rapid antibody testing, he went on.

Guidelines for each type of testing and different scenarios, including the scenario of 30,000 infected cases recorded in the country, have also been issued, the official noted, asking the General Department of Preventive Medicine and the Administration of Science, Technology and Training to hold regular meetings to share testing experience and expertise with other units and grassroots medical establishments.

The communication work will be stepped up to raise public awareness of the importance of testing in the pandemic combat, he said.

There are 175 testing labs capable of conducting coronavirus tests nationwide at present, including 125 authorised to carry out confirmatory tests, according to Nguyen Minh Hang, Deputy Director of the General Department of Preventive Medicine.

Compared to the previous waves of outbreaks, Vietnam’s testing capacity has improved “very quickly” in this fourth wave of COVID-19 infections. Nearly 310,000 samples have been tested since April 27, when the resurgence began, she said.

The health ministry said currently there are 16 biological products for RT-PCR test, four for rapid antigen test and nine other for antibody test. All of them have been licensed by the ministry.

Besides, Vietnam has used biological products recommended by the World Health Organization or the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The MoH's Department of Medical Examination Management reported that a total of 100 hospitals nationwide have laboratories that conduct both confirmatory and screening tests.

Thuan said the ministry has requested all hospitals with 300 or more beds to set up confirmatory laboratories. He also instructed the department to continue reminding medical facilities to strengthen testing capacity.

Health officials at the meeting pointed out that the COVID-19 situation remains complex in many countries, including some sharing the borderlines with Vietnam.

Many countries and territories have also recorded the emergence of new coronavirus variants that are more transmissible and dangerous such as the variants first found in the UK and India.

As of the noon on May 13, Vietnam had reported 3,679 cases of COVID-19, including 2,234 local infections and 1,445 imported ones.

A total of 664 cases have been documented since the fourth COVID-19 wave hit Vietnam on April 27.

A total of 77,648 people who came in close contact with COVID-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined nationwide, including 1,052 at hospitals, 32,228 at other quarantine sites, and 44,368 at home or accommodations.

Among the COVID-19 patients, 19 have tested negative for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, 18 twice, and 25 thrice.

As many as 942,030 frontline medical workers and members of community-based anti-COVID-19 groups in Vietnam had been injected with COVID-19 vaccine as of 4pm on May 12. The country began its COVID-19 inoculation campaign on March 8.

To stay safe from COVID-19, people are urged to strictly follow the MoH’s 5K health message: khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering), and khai bao y te (health declaration)./.