The Korea Herald


Korea, Brazil develop Zika test kit in joint project

By 임정요

Published : June 2, 2016 - 13:38

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South Korea said Thursday that it has developed a new technology to detect the Zika virus within 20 minutes in a joint project with Brazil.

Only one or two drops of human blood is needed to check whether he or she is infected with the virus, which spreads primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

"It can be used as conveniently as a pregnancy test kit," the ministry said.

Existing DNA tests require an analysis at a laboratory, a process that could take hours, days or even weeks.

It's the fruit of a 10-month-long joint research by South Korea's biotech firm GenBody Inc. and Bahiafarma, a Brazilian public pharmaceutical manufacturer.

South Korea's state-funded BioNano Health Guard Research Center supported the project.

The three sides signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint program in September last year.

Experts said the successful development of the kit will have positive effect on the efforts to fight Zika and other similar diseases.

"The useful antigen-antibody technology developed this time is expected to help swiftly detect tropical infectious diseases and also contribute to the development of related vaccine and medicine," Bae Pan-gi, a senior researcher at the BioNano Health Guard Research Center, said. (Yonhap)