Izmir lab produces tests to detect coronavirus

Scientists from Turkey create a test that detects the coronavirus in 5 minutes

A Turkish company based in İzmir -on the west coast of the country- has developed a coronavirus detection test capable of offering results in just 5 minutes, and already has plans for its mass production in Turkey and even for export to other countries.

In statements made on Wednesday to the Turkish Anatolia news agency, the CEO of the Türklab company, Kartal Yağlıdere, explained that the company has 25 years of experience in developing kits for the detection of various diseases, therefore responding to the request of the Ministry of Health, it decided to focus its efforts on developing a test capable of detecting the presence of the new virus.

According to Yağlıdere, the project is supported by the authorities through the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TÜBİTAK), and is based on the detection of antibodies produced by the organism from patients with COVID-19.

“Our goal is to complete the project within 6 months. We will work 24 hours, 7 days a week if necessary. We have the necessary experience, because we have been producing tests for 25 years, so our infrastructure is ready. We are confident that we will finish the project to reach our goal of mass production, which will be 3 million COVID-19 tests per month,” said the head of the company.

Several countries have already shown interest in the project

Without having yet reached the mass production stage, there are already several companies from countries around the world that have shown interest in these tests and have even made purchase orders in advance. Berna Demirkaya, Türklab‘s sales manager, explained for her part that the difference between these new tests and other existing tests on the market lies in the use of the immunofiltration method and that they are 100 times more sensitive to the virus.

“Ours are much more reliable products than so-called quick tests. Quick tests are the most used right now, offering results in 15 minutes. Ours give results in 5 minutes. And you don’t need special equipment or personnel to read the results. The Turkish Ministry of Health uses PCR tests, which require qualified personnel and well-equipped laboratories, and therefore are not such an effective method to test the entire population. But ours, yes,” she concluded.

Contagion curve flattens in Turkey

On the other hand, in statements made on Wednesday when announcing the latest data on the evolution of the pandemic in Turkey, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca assured that the results of the containment measures are already being seen, since there is a trend towards flattening of the contagion curve in Turkey.

After attending a meeting of the Scientific Council of Coronavirus, Koca explained that the figures already show a reduction in the number of new infections, which in the last 24 hours added 3,083 new cases to exceed 98,000, but which represent 33% less compared with the 4,611 cases from the previous day. There is also a decrease in pressure on ICUs, which on average in Turkey have an occupancy rate of 60%.