Wuhan plan buoys shares of COVID-19 test producers

By Ma Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/12 20:18:40

Firefighters carry out disinfection to the lecture hall at the No. 23 Senior High School in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 22, 2020.Photo:Xinhua

Chinese test kit companies trading in the Chinese mainland rallied on Tuesday, as Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, said all residents will be given nucleic acid tests within 10 days as the city moves to avert a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Genomic giant BGI's shares gained 5.29 percent to 110.8 yuan ($15.6). Maccura Biotechnology Co, based in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, rose by the daily ceiling of 10 percent to 41.33 yuan.

According to a statement on the website of the Hubei Province Drugs Instrument Procurement Platform, the province plans to buy COVID-19 test kits from six domestic companies including BGI and Maccura.

The prices of nucleic acid test kits purchased from the firms ranges from 16.78 yuan to 24.99 yuan each, while antibody test kits cost 12.99 yuan to 13.885 yuan each, read the statement.

BGI told the Global Times on Tuesday that it has completed more than 700,000 nucleic acid tests across the country, with national daily throughput reaching 60,000. The company said that the overall supply capacity can be further enhanced based on needs.

Economists from Wuhan-based TF Securities estimated in a recent note that the market for nucleic acid tests in China is worth 5.2 billion yuan, while that overseas is worth 12.6 billion yuan, with 130 million people in other countries waiting to be tested.

A Chinese government meeting held on May 7 called for an expansion of the production capacity of rapid test kits while ensuring safety and reliability, and attracting more third-party testing providers.

To date, China has exported tens of millions of COVID-19 test kits and won international acclaim, a Ministry of Commerce spokesperson said on April 28, refuting Western reports claiming low accuracy for made-in-China test kits.

Chen Weijun, chief scientist of infectious diseases at BGI, told the Global Times that it is of great importance to use the kits correctly. 

"In practice, the accuracy of nucleic acid tests is affected by the characteristics of a virus, the product itself, and the collection, storage and transport of samples. Appropriate timing is key for accurate antibody test results, as the amount of antibodies circulating in a person's body varies from time to time," he said.

Thanks to big technological advances in recent years, a solid industrial base and an effective regulation system in China, the country has become a major COVID-19 test kits supplier, accounting for at least 50 percent of the international market, he said.

 "The nucleic acid test kits developed by mainstream companies in China are of world-class quality, on par with those developed by large foreign companies," Chen said, noting that they showcase the quality of made-in-China.


blog comments powered by Disqus