THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
March 13, 2020 at 14:16 JST
Kurabo Industries Ltd. will start selling new test kits for the novel coronavirus. (Provided by Kurabo Industries Ltd.)
A leading textile maker said March 12 that it will start selling test kits that can detect the new coronavirus in 15 minutes with an accuracy of 95 percent.
Kurabo Industries Ltd. said the sales beginning on March 16 will target domestic research institutions because the kits are not covered under the national health insurance program.
The test kits were developed by a Chinese business partner that produces reagents.
Kurabo Industries said it is already selling the kits in China and has a supply that can test 10,000 people a day in Japan.
The tests are conducted by placing a few drops of blood and reagent onto a special membrane. The novel coronavirus is confirmed if antibodies are found in the blood, the company said.
Kurabo Industries also said the kits can help detect infections at an early stage even before symptoms appear.
Currently, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is the only way to check for the new coronavirus in patients in Japan. The results of PCR tests are available after five to six hours.
Kurabo Industries said one kit that can test 10 samples will be sold for 25,000 yen ($238), excluding tax.
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