Brazil orders millions of Zika rapid testing kits

Brazil orders millions of Zika rapid testing kits

Photo document of Zika test kit. (Loke Kok Fai)

Rio de Janeiro (ANTARA News) - The Brazilian government announced on Tuesday it had bought 3.5 million rapid testing kits for Zika virus.

In a press conference, Health Minister Ricardo Barros said the tests would allow to detect Zika virus in a patient in under 20 minutes. The tests were all manufactured in the country and will be distributed to principally test pregnant women and children under 2 years old.

The governments expectations are that 2 million tests will be deployed to health clinics by December, with the rest to be delivered nationwide over the next 12 months.

The purchase involved a deal between the government and the Fundacion Bahiafarma, a public laboratory, worth 119 million reais (38.2 million U.S. dollars). The laboratory will supply kits to the Brazilian public healthcare system for a year.

The health minister stated that the success rate for Zika detection stands at 95 percent and that it can pick up the Zika virus at any stage of its development, by testing antibodies.

Brazil is currently in a state of healthcare emergency since Zika has reached an infection rate of 98.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and has been blamed for thousands of cases of microcephaly among newborns.

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