Indonesia has produced 50,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing kits for detecting the novel coronavirus, an official said Monday.
“The kits will be distributed to hospitals across the country, especially in Sumatra and eastern regions,” said Hamam Riza, head of the Assessment and Application of Technology Agency.
The testing kits, which were produced by PT Biofarma, are capable of examining 32 specimens in 90 minutes.
Riza said the kits used a method known as bioinformatics analysis, with specifications closest to the coronavirus. As a result, the sensitivity of the tools in detecting the virus is higher than similar kits produced by other countries, he said.
Biofarma will continue to produce 50,000 PCR testing kits per week to meet domestic needs.
“We’re expecting that 100,000 testing kits will be prepared before Eid al-Fitr,” Riza told Anadolu Agency, referring to the Muslim festival at the end of the month of Ramadan.
The production cost was around Indonesian rupiahs 100,000 ($6.7) per kit, while the selling price has not yet been determined.
However, PCR examination still relies on reagents, chemicals used to run the tests, that must be imported from foreign countries.
Riza said the locally made testing kits would be introduced by President Joko Widodo during the commemoration of the May 20 National Awakening Day.
Indonesia has also released a mobile Laboratory known as Bio Safety Level-2 to strengthen the country’s response to COVID-19.
The laboratory aims to conduct COVID-19 testing with the PCR method in areas that lack adequate health services.
The Southeast Asian country will produce rapid testing kits and ventilators.
As of Monday, 18,010 COVID-19 cases have been reported across the country. The novel coronavirus has claimed at least 1,191 lives in Indonesia, while 4,324 have recovered.
*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language service in Jakarta
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