Vietnamese scientists developing tests, treatment to fight coronavirus

Within half a month, Vietnamese scientists gained encouraging research results which help cope with the Covid-2019 epidemic.

1/ The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) on February 7 announced it has successfully cultured and isolated the coronavirus in the lab.

Vietnamese scientists developing tests, treatment to fight coronavirus



The achievement would allow quicker testing for coronavirus, so thousands of samples could be tested a day, if necessary. As such, Vietnam is one of the few countries which have succeeded in isolating the virus.

The research team selected two out of nine new samples positive to nCoV and cultured on two cell samples provided by a lab at Nagasaki University (Japan).

Within half a month, Vietnamese scientists gained encouraging research results which help cope with the Covid-2019 epidemic.

Infected cells were monitored and observed daily by a microscope and the presence of virus was detected with real-time RT-PRC method. After 72 hours of research and isolation, at 9:40 am on February 7, Vietnamese scientists saw coronavirus in the laboratory.

 


According to NIHE director Dang Duc Anh, the successful culture of viruses will help accurately decipher the origin of the novel coronavirus, its virulence, pathogenic mechanisms, immunity and viral endurance in different environments.

This provides important data for studies to find therapies and develop specific diagnostic bio-products and vaccines

2/ Currently, the standard method recommended by WHO to detect nCoV is RT-PCR and Realtime RT-PCR biological kits. It takes at least four hours to get the test results. The other disadvantage of the method is that it needs very expensive equipment and the production cost is VND1 million for each kit.

On February 9, the research team of Dr Le Quang Hoa and Dr Nguyen Le Thu Ha from the Institute of Biotechnology and Food Technology, an arm of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology announced the successful creation of RT- LAMP bioproduct which quickly detects nCoV.

The kit uses RT-LAMP technique, mostly used to detect RNA of pathogenic viruses. The time needed for the analysis is short (70 minutes including RNA extraction stage).

“The obvious advantage is the short reaction time of only 15-30 minutes, very fast compared with the current standard process (at least 2 hours),” Hoa said.

The other advantage of this method lies in the low production cost, just VND350,000.

3/ Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh has approved the research project on evaluating the effectiveness and safety of the use of lopinavir/ritonavir as supplementation in the treatment of patients with nCoV.

The scientists will try the treatment for four weeks or on 10 patients. Later, they will report about the effectiveness of clinical, subclinical and virological response, and the safety of the use of lopinavir/ritonavir.

Prior to that, the ministry assigned the tasks of researching and manufacturing bioproducts to quickly detect and screen nCoV to serve the fight against the epidemic.

Thanh Lich

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