Coronavirus Tests: How Some Countries Outperformed Others | News from the world



A team from Hong Kong who helped identify Sars worked to develop their own test. “Because we have experienced all of these events in the past, we know how important it is to have a functional diagnostic test,” said Leo Poon, who led the team. “That’s why we basically tried to get the job done as quickly as possible. “

As one of the world’s largest producers of chemicals, China has been able to quickly accelerate the production of kits.


Germany’s preparation has been facilitated in part by the recognition that coronavirus is likely to become a global problem. While most countries were slow to dust off pandemic preparedness plans in early January, Berlin scientist Olfert Landt recognized the similarity to Sars and realized that a test kit would be needed.

Having no gene sequence for the new coronavirus, Landt and his company designed their first test kit based on Sars and other known coronaviruses. The protocol was published by WHO on January 17, before the Chinese test. The British government has passed this test. By the end of February, Landt had produced 4m kits and was 1.5m more per week.

In addition to having an effective test in mass production, Germany politically subscribed to mass testing from the start, which allowed it to do 12,000 tests per day.


South Korea

South Korea has been among the most aggressive in testing. Unlike early stages in the UK – where Boris Johnson said the coronavirus was likely to “spread a little more” – South Korean health officials quickly learned from Wuhan that the new virus was extremely contagious and could spread quickly over a large area. .

The country has given priority to identifying and isolating people who test positive for the disease and has developed its capacity to run around 15,000 diagnostic tests per day. To date, it has performed more than 300,000 tests, free of charge, including in test drive cabins since it was replicated elsewhere.


Small and relatively wealthy, the country has some screening advantages and has tested a higher proportion of its citizens than anywhere else in the world, many of which have no symptoms of the disease.

“The Icelandic population places them in the unique position of having very high testing capabilities with the help of Icelandic medical research company DeCode Genetics,” Thorolfur Guðnason, Icelandic chief epidemiologist, told BuzzFeed. He said the screening effort was “aimed at gathering a snapshot of the true prevalence of the virus in the community, since most countries are most testing symptomatic individuals at this time. “


After Germany, Italy performed the most tests, with around 200,000 tests. These included the 3,000 residents of the town of Vò, near Venice, in a pilot project designed to see if tests throughout the community could help slow the spread of the disease.

Italy has shown how large-scale testing can be as controversial politically as insufficient testing, some, including Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, initially seeming to blame the country’s high number of infections for screening of people without symptoms. “We were the first to have the most rigorous and precise controls,” Conte said on television, adding that Italy seemed to have more people infected because “we have done more tests”. The tests turned out to be a clear warning of what was going to happen.

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