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Belgian Biotech Company To Produce Coronavirus Antibody Tests

In a bid to amp up testing of Coronavirus globally, a Belgian biotech firm has started producing tests to rapidly detect antibodies against the infection.


In a bid to increase testing of the deadly Coronavirus globally, a Belgian biotech firm has reportedly started producing tests to rapidly detect antibodies against the infection. According to an international news agency, a Liege-based company, ZenTech, started making tens of thousands of the government certified tests. The company reportedly said that it plans ramp up output further to eventually make up to three million per month so the world could overcome the pandemic. 

While speaking to the media agency, founder and CEO of the company, Jean-Claude Havaux, said that the diagnosis takes just 10-15 minutes and sensitivity is 100 per cent, which means that all patients who have COVID-19 antibodies, can be detected via the test. Havaux also said that the test kits, however, are only for medical professionals and they will be distributed in Belgium first and then in other countries. Furthermore, he also said that the kits are not meant for the public to use at home as they are ‘complicated’. 

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Havaux reportedly said that the company does not intend the test to be used by just anybody as it is ‘pretty complicated’ and not like a pregnancy test. He added that the test is ‘complicated’ to carry out and to interpret the results. The test is also very crucial tool right now in determining who has had COVID-19 and therefore could be immune to it. 

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WHO warns against antibodies 

The company also said that the tests could also possible pave the way to allowing people to return to work while the countries are grappling to contain the virus. These tests are also important for healthcare workers on the frontline of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has, however, warned that the presence of Coronavirus antibodies is not proof that an individual is immune. The WHO said that even if there is immunity, it is still unknown how long it might last. 

Meanwhile, Coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 177,000 lives worldwide as of April 22. According to the tally by an international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 210 countries and territories and has infected more than 2.5 million people. Out of the total infections, more than 688,000 have recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries including Spain, and the economy is struggling. 

(Image source: AP)

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