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Taiwan’s ITRI Superfast Portable COVID-19 Test Kits Finds International Acceptance

image credits: CNA as printed on focustaiwan.tw

As detailed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) this Wednesday, Japan’s order for 100 kits and 10,000 reagents came from a Japanese biotechnology firm. Support for the sale has been unanimous. The Japanese government has approved the sale of the product in its country effective immediately.

The iPMx Molecular Rapid Test System is set to revolutionise the way viral testing is done. Not only can this breakthrough electronics provide an accurate and efficient method for detecting the COVID-19 virus in record time but it’s also portable, weighing 600 grams. All told, that compact testing device is estimated to be 57 times lighter than traditional COVID-19 testing devices.

Most importantly for anyone wanting to get over their viral testing, the portable test device has an accuracy rate of 95.8 per cent within an hour. That is a quarter of the time required by current polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

The real-world applications for such a powerful portable device run a-plenty. Chiou Chyou-huey, Head of the MOEA’s Department of Industrial Technology, informed everyone in the news conference that the device can be effectively used at small and medium-sized hospitals and clinics, as well as operating and emergency rooms at major hospitals.

Answering questions from reporters after the news conference, Chiou said the iPMx Molecular Rapid Test System is like a “mobile laboratory” that meets market demand and is suitable for use at regional hospitals and clinics in the country. Indeed, the mobile laboratory can be a breath of fresh air to an industry that has been accustomed to unwanted delays. And Japan’s order confirmed how much the market could be ready for such a powerful yet portable COVID-19 test device.

Even developed countries such as the U.S. have been traumatised by COVID test results that take so long. Recently, as the Omicron variant swept across America and is blamed for more than 98% of COVID-19 cases, the demand for reliable testing has skyrocketed. That has certainly created unnecessary bottlenecks for everyone involved and has become a patient’s nightmare. Promised turnaround times that can go as long as 24 to 48 hours can leave people wondering if they should isolate or go out. The scenario is even worse for people who must wait for hours on end to know how to proceed with funeral arrangements.

Chiou opens up about Taiwan’s next step which involves targeting markets in Southeast Asia, Europe and the U.S. The venture is a joint effort of the private and public sectors. ITRI is 50% funded by the Taiwanese government with the rest from the private sector.

ITRI has been in the limelight for some time now and not only in the Asian region. As reported on OpenGov, the government-backed tech firm has recently inked a tri-party agreement that could bring about digital healthcare to SouthEast Asia and the world.

This time around it has partnered with a manufacturing giant that boasts years of experience in information communication technologies. To a large degree, the virus has become an unwanted catalyst for these developments. As the need for social distance became pronounced, future health services must be able to deliver even from a distance.

Being forward-looking has its distinct advantages. In the works for ITRI is a second-generation iPMx Molecular Rapid Test System that can simultaneously tackle the viruses that cause seasonal flu and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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