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Three Types of Testing Kits to Check for COVID-19 at Different Stages of Epidemic

Three types of testing kits can be used to check for coronavirus infection at various stages of the epidemic, said Military Medical Academy Head General Major Ventsislav Moutafchiiski at a briefing in Cabinet, attended by PM Borissov and Deputy PM Donchev.

Prof. Moutafchiiski explained that the only reliable way to detect COVID is through a PCR test which takes time and requires special equipments and well-trained personnel. He said that in Bulgaria, with laboratories working at full swing, about 1,000 - 1,200 cases can be detected per day, which means that we will need about 30,000 testing kits per month. The cost will be 930,000 leva per month.

The second way to detect the virus is using a fluorescent immunochromatographic test, based on an antigen on the surface of the virus. The identification takes about 5 minutes. Another, faster type of testing kits for widespread use is being currently developed. It resembles a pregnancy tests, and the goals is to produce 20,000 per day or at least 300,000 per month, which would cost about 10 million leva.

When the epidemic has reached its peak, it will be time for antibody-based tests. They can detect how many people have contracted the disease without knowing it. The plan for that stage is to produce about 40,000 testing kits per day, which will cost about 10 million leva per month.

The first type of tests is 100% accurate. The second can be used to quickly detect newly infected, and can be used for people with symptoms, medical staff, vendors, pharmacists, clerks, transportation staff. These testing kits will also be useful to detect newly infected people among risk groups.

The third type, quick tests, are important, but only after the peak of the epidemic. They will give a clear picture of how many people have developed immunity against the virus, which in turn will be the first step toward revitalizing social life and the economy.

Prime Minister Borissov said that so far, Bulgaria has made an order with the European Commission for two types of testing kits: 600,000 RNA-based tests and 400,000 quick tests. He will try to add another 500,000 tests to the public procurement, and failing that will look for other ways to deliver them to Bulgaria.

He also announced that on Friday the Council of Ministers has approved an agreement between Bulgaria and China for the procurement of one million masks and 50 ventilators.ed to finance a budget deficit in 2020.

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