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Japanese manufacturer to begin exporting reagent kits for COVID-19 detection

This photo shows a reagent kit for detecting COVID-19 developed by Shimadzu Corp. (Photo courtesy of Shimadzu/NNA/Kyodo)

SINGAPORE (NNA/Kyodo) -- Japan's Shimadzu Corp. said Thursday it will begin full-fledged exports of its reagent kits for detecting the novel coronavirus through PCR testing, starting with Southeast Asia.

    The Kyoto-based major manufacturer of medical equipment and precision instruments said it has obtained provisional authorization from Singapore's Health Sciences Authority to sell the kits.

    Shimadzu will begin exporting the new product via Shimadzu (Asia Pacific) Pte. Ltd., a regional arm based in Singapore, in early February. Negotiations are under way between the company and other Southeast Asian countries for sale of the kits.

    Conventional PCR tests require more than two hours to detect COVID-19, but the time can be cut to about an hour with the use of the Shimadzu kits, according to the company.

    Shimadzu started the sale of the kits in the United States last September for use exclusively in laboratory tests based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency-use authorization.

    The use of the kits for research purposes also began in October in Austria and preparations are being made for shipment to France, Croatia and other European countries.

    Shimadzu expects to produce up to 3,000 kits for 300,000 tests per month for use outside Japan.

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