The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) newly deployed equipment to rapidly detect the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to 16 medical institutions nationwide (see the Appendix). Utilizing the reserve fund budgeted on March 10, METI will accelerate the use of the equipment by confirming its effectiveness and operability on site.
The Second Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Emergency Response Package, which was compiled on March 10 by the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters (chaired by the Prime Minister), includes the determination to conduct demonstrations on the accuracy of a rapid virus detector, which will shorten the time required for PCR screening, aiming to commence the use thereof within March this year.
Rapid virus detector “GeneSoC”
GeneSoC, which was jointly developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and KYORIN Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., has the greatest advantage in its rapidness in detecting SARS-CoV-2, while maintaining detection sensitivity close to that of conventional PCR machines. All procedures from sampling to determination of the outcome complete within one hour (less than 30 minutes for preparation and less than 15 minutes for screening). GeneSoC is not suited to screening a large number of specimens at one time, unlike conventional PCR machines, but the functions of GeneSoC are expected to be fully utilized in diagnosing a small number of specimens swiftly. GeneSoC came to be covered by insurance on March 18, and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare recommends it as a genetic testing method to be used in official screening tests.
Demonstrations for introducing GeneSoC
Utilizing the reserve fund decided by the Cabinet on March 10, METI granted subsidies to the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) and deployed GeneSoC to 16 medical institutions where the screening system for COVID-19 has been developed. At these medical institutions, the effectiveness and operability of GeneSoC will be confirmed on site, which is expected to accelerate the use of this new equipment.
KYORIN Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. plans to increase production of GeneSoC in April so that it will be broadly utilized in a larger number of medical institutions.
■ 16 medical institutions where GeneSoC was deployed
- Department of Clinical Infectious Diseases and Department of Infection Control and Prevention, Aichi Medical University
- Kyorin University Hospital
- Kindai University Hospital
- Center Hospital of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine
- Saitama Medical University
- Sapporo Medical University Hospital
- Tokai University School of Medicine
- Toho University Faculty of Medicine
- Tohoku University Hospital
- Sendai Medical Center
- Tottori University Hospital
- Nagasaki University Hospital
- Nara Medical University
- Fujita Health University Hospital
- Yamagata University Hospital
- University of Yamanashi Hospital