Iran has started the mass production of a domestically-developed antigen test for rapid diagnosis of COVID-19.
The mass production of the new tests, which can show on-the-spot results in 15-20 minutes, was started in a Tuesday ceremony attended by Iranian First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri in Tehran.
As in the PCR tests, a nasopharyngeal swab sample is collected from the potential patient in order to diagnose any infection with the novel coronavirus using these new tests.
However, the rapid test does not need the special standards, specialized labs, complicated and expensive equipment, and more importantly skilled and experienced technical staff required in the PCR tests.
The antigen test for rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 requires much simpler and cheaper equipment and facilities.
The standards of the sampling centre are usually enough for taking these new tests, according to Siamak Samiei, the director general of Health Reference Laboratory Research Centre of the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education.
Sajjad Moravveji, the managing director of Salamat Electronic Barkat company, said on the margins of the Tuesday ceremony that the new kits are expected to slow down the outbreak as they play a significant role in identifying the patients.
He said the performance of the new test is similar to that of the PCR, however it is more affordable for the people living in remote and underprivileged areas.
“The new kit costs only 30% of the PCR tests, and can help the country save a considerable amount of foreign currency,” he added.
The new test is expected to be released in the market soon, and be used in the Health Ministry’s nationwide screening programs.