Indonesia-based pharmaceutical company produces alternative COVID-19 testing technology

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JAKARTA, March 27 (Xinhua) — PT Kalbe Farma, a pharmaceutical company based in Indonesia, has produced a molecular-based COVID-19 detection technology dubbed the reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) as an alternative to the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

The RT-LAMP uses saliva as a sample to detect COVID-19. The test kits are produced by PT Kalbe Farma’s subsidiary PT KalGen DNA and distributed by its subsidiary PT Enseval Media Prima.

PT KalGen DNA is currently capable of producing 460,000 diagnostic kits per month and this capacity will be increased to 2 million per month within the next two to three months, President Commissioner of PT Kalbe Farma Irawati Setiady said at a virtual seminar in Jakarta on Thursday.

On the same occasion, Akterono Dwi Budiyati, IVD Division Research Manager at PT Kalbe Farma’s Stem Cell and Cancer Institute, said the RT-LAMP Saliva research process has been carried out since June 2020, and in March 2021 it received a distribution permit from the Ministry of Health.

“The presence of this innovative test can be an excellent choice because it has high accuracy with a sensitivity of 94 percent and specificity of 98 percent,” Budiyati said, adding that the sampling method is only from saliva, thus providing convenience and practicality in the COVID-19 test.

“The saliva sample does not require special tools and does not pose a risk of vomiting or a sensitive nose, which is very convenient for children or hypersensitive people,” Budiyati was quoted by Antara news agency as saying.

She pointed out that using the RT-LAMP kit only requires laboratory personnel with basic technical aseptic skills and working principles in molecular facilities to analyze saliva samples.

Budiyati also said that the RT-LAMP Saliva method could detect a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Minister of Research and Technology Bambang Brodjonegoro said the RT-LAMP Saliva is a promising innovation which can increase the capacity of testing for COVID-19 in Indonesia. Enditem

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