Governments around the world have achieved various levels of success in using lockdown and social distancing to stop the spread of the Coronavirus within the community and to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. According epidemiologists, the easing of a lockdown needs to be accompanied by preventive measures against the possible reemergence of COVID-19.

The increased ability to perform tests is an important factor. However, even in developed countries, the lack of equipment and chemicals for tests as well as skilled technicians remains an obstacle to the widening of tests to a desired level. Therefore, Sao Thai Duong JSC is launching a new RT-LAMP COVID-19 KIT to meet the need for widening of tests after easing of social distancing.

At the same time, a prolonged lockdown will not only lead to a paralysis of the economy but also have serious negative impacts on an individual level. There have been numerous demonstrations in many countries where protesters demanded the right to return to work. According to Worldometer, as of May 19th, 2020, almost 4.8 million people (0.06% of the world’s population) in all the world’s continents have been confirmed being infected with COVID-19 with 316,711 fatalities (almost 6,6%). The difficult question which governments and health ministries are facing is how the remaining 99.94% of the population can go to work, go to schools, and to socialize safely.

The current method of testing for COVID-19 is to use the technology of real-time RT-PCR to discover the RNA of SARS-CoV-2 and has this method has a high accuracy. However, in order to perform these process and analyses, there is a need of the real-time PCR equipment which is commonly equipped in hospitals and larger test centers, and specialized technicians who are familiar with the technology of the real-time PCR equipment. Quick tests which look for the presence of specific antibody of SARS-CoV-2 are simple and easy to perform but have a high rate of false-negative results. The reason is that antibodies only appear in human blood after 7 to 11 days after infection. Carriers of the virus, incorrectly declared as negative, can move about freely and will infect others in the community.

The RT-LAMP COVID-19 KIT THAI DUONG launched at the end of May 2020 has the advantages of being accurate, high sensitivity and can be carried out quite easily. Clinical trials carried out at the Institute of Occupational Health and the Environment on 300 samples have yielded better results than expected — sensitivity: 100%, specificity: 99.6%. Furthermore, the process of using this biological test only requires one piece of Thermostatic bath at the temperature of 65 degree Celsius and the test result can be verified by visual observation of the change in colour of the liquid from violet to sky blue.

Le Quang Hoa, PhD, is the head of the research group at Hanoi University of Science and Technology says: “RT-LAMP is an abbreviation for Reverse transcription Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification which is a method of isothermal amplification of nucleic acid with the ability to amplify target genes up to billions of time during a short period of time. Even though the LAMP method was conceived twenty years ago, only a few biological products have been commercialized. The reason is the nonspecific amplification from primers in the LAMP reaction which cause false-positive situation.

Within the framework of cooperation between Sunstar Joint Stock Company and Innogenex, two versions of the RT-LAMP have been developed which makes the detection RNA of SARS-CoC-2 possible with an accuracy of 99.6% while shortening the time for analysis in comparison with standard real-time RT-PCR. Technicians need only to undergo a 30-minute training session online in order to be able to perform the tests. Tests results are available after 15-30 minutes instead of two hours as when using real-time RT-PCR. This can mean in a fourfold increase in the capacity for testing. Further research is being done so that version 3.0 can stored and transported in normal temperature which will reduce transport costs and increase availability of testing.

RT-LAMP COVID-19 Thai Duong is a valuable resource in the strategy of widening of testing in the fight against COVID-19.

Production and launch of the test kit took place at the end of April 2020. Sao Thai Duong JSC (English name SUNSTAR JSC) was founded in the year 2000 by two pharmacists who are currently serving as the company’s CEOs. SUNSTAR JSC is a household name in Vietnam with more than 130 products (personal care, cosmetics, food supplements, pharmaceuticals) in more than 16 countries in Asia, the EU, and North America.

Source: Company Press Release