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article imageKorea, Brazil develop kit that detects Zika virus in 20 minutes

By Lucky Malicay     Jun 7, 2016 in Health
Seoul - South Korean and Brazilian researchers have jointly developed a new technology that will detect the Zika virus in 20 minutes.
The South Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it only takes one or two drops of blood for the test kit to detect the virus.
"It can be used as conveniently as a pregnancy test kit," the ministry was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying.
The Zika test kit was the result of the research conducted by GenBody Inc., a South Korean biotech firm, and Bahiafarma, a Brazilian pharmaceutical manufacturer, with the support from the South Korean government-funded BioNano Health Guard Research Center.
Belarusian News Agency/Facebook
Researchers assured that the kit will be useful in the fight against the virus, which spreads through the bite of Aedes species mosquitoes.
"The useful antigen-antibody technology developed this time is expected to help swiftly detect tropical infectious diseases and also contribute to the development of related vaccine and medicine," said Bae Pan-gi, a senior researcher at the BioNano Health Guard Research Center.
As of May 11, South Korea has recorded five cases of the Zika virus, the latest involving a 39-year-old man who was tested positive following a business trip to the Philippines.
The man, who visited the Philippine province of Batangas near Metro Manila on April 27, visited a clinic in Samcheok east of Seoul after having joint and muscle pains and rash. He was diagnosed with the virus in a urine test.
Korea Herald/Twitter
Last week in Brazil, Bahiafarma also announced the development of the Zika test kit, saying the new technology was the result of a 10-month collaboration with the South Korean company.
The kit, the first of its kind to be produced and commercially available in Brazil under the country’s National Health Surveillance Agency, can detect the Zika virus by scanning the antibody.
"Previous tests needed to be analyzed in laboratories, which could take weeks. This test is quick, providing a result in about 20 minutes after separating antibodies from the human blood," said Fabio Vilas Boas, the health secretary of the Bahia state, which is expected to buy some 500,000 test agents.
Brazil’s Ministry of Health said it recorded over 120,000 suspicious Zika infections from January to April in 1,605 cities across the country. Close to 40,000 cases were diagnosed with the state of Bahia among the areas badly affected.
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