בדיקות נגיף קורונה מבחנה מעבדה בית חולים איכילוב תל אביב
Coronavirus testing kits at Ichilov Hospital
Photo: AFP
Testing for coronavirus at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital

Coronavirus breakthrough will give Israel at least two more weeks of testing

Health official says lab equipment will receive required adjustments to suit newly developed replacement to key reagents for coronavirus; daily testing capacity still unclear

Sarit Rosenblum |
Published: 04.05.20 , 18:15
Health officials confirmed on Sunday reports that Israeli scientists have developed a replacement for a material used to analyze samples in coronavirus tests, saying the new breakthrough will give the country two more weeks-worth of testing.
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  • "I was notified that the reagent tested was found functional," a virology lab manager told Ynet. "Starting tomorrow [Monday], technicians will come to make the required adjustments. They told us it'll give us an extra month of work."
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    Does it mean we'll conduct 5,000 tests a day or 30,000? I still don't know, but it should give us at least a two-week breathing space."
    It has been revealed earlier that the shortage of the key reagent (a substance that causes a chemical reaction) needed to analyze COVID-19 samples is bringing the number of tests down again and is expected to drop further.
    The Beilinson Hospital Laboratory, which is part of the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, have conducted tests on dozens of various materials in an effort to find the replacement for missing reagent - the amounts of which are scarce across the world.
    The source said the scientists appear to have reached a breakthrough in the past 24 hours but the testing is still ongoing.
    בדיקות נגיף קורונה מבחנה מעבדה בית חולים איכילוב תל אביבבדיקות נגיף קורונה מבחנה מעבדה בית חולים איכילוב תל אביב
    Coronavirus testing at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital
    (Photo: AFP)
    The Health Ministry began looking into developing a replacement as soon as it became obvious the material currently in use would be next to impossible to repurchase due to the substance’s scarcity across the world, making testing for COVID-19 impossible.
    The ministry began importing chemicals from abroad, which were originally intended for other uses, in the hopes to develop the missing material in Israeli medical labs.
    The number of COVID-19 tests has substantially decreased over the past few days due to the lack of the needed reagent and will continue to decrease as long as the replacement material is not found.
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