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Taiwan CDC Unveils Locally Produced Rapid Test Kit for Dengue Virus

The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday announced a new domestically manufactured test for screening dengue fever that is able to show results within 30 minutes.

The mosquito-borne dengue virus is one of the diseases that the agency focuses on preventing each year. In a bid to support the nation’s biotechnology industry and enhance the ability to diagnose dengue, the CDC in September 2015 held an open process to select a company for a technology transfer.

The agency in January last year signed a contract with AsiaGen Corp and received a license from the Food and Drug Administration for the AsiaGen Dengue NS1 Antigen Rapid Test Kit — the only domestic manufacturer of a dengue test kit.

The rapid test kit can detect the four dengue virus serotypes and provide results within 30 minutes, far faster than the traditional reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method, which takes six hours, CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.

Before the new test was available, doctors had to diagnose dengue from a patient’s symptoms, then take blood samples for RT-PCR testing or imported rapid test kits, which are relatively expensive and unpopular, he said.

The new kit, which is of good quality and cheaper, is expected to help doctors diagnose and treat dengue faster, improving the nation’s dengue prevention ability, he added.

There have been numerous imported cases of dengue, with the top three sources of the disease over the past month being Vietnam, the Philippines and Myanmar, the agency said, adding that a total of 172 imported dengue cases had been reported as of Sunday, more than in the same period in the past six years.

As the number of dengue outbreaks in Southeast Asian countries has continued to rise, people who plan to visit the region are advised to take mosquito bite prevention measures and report to airport quarantine stations or see a doctor if they feel ill after returning to Taiwan.

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