TOKYO — Japanese biotech company Takara Bio said Thursday it has developed a new reagent which allows coronavirus infections to be determined in about an hour, slashing the required testing time by more than half from existing methods.
The newly developed substance, which goes on sale Friday, eliminates the need to remove impurities from samples. It normally takes two or three hours to complete polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, based tests.
The company will supply reagent sufficient to test 2 million specimens per month.
The product, manufactured at a facility based in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian, will be sold for 120,000 yen ($1,125), enough for 100 test specimens. Samples taken from the throat or nose contain impurities that slow down the testing process, but the new substance is unaffected by them.
As Asia’s largest research reagent developer, Takara Bio has been working on increasing production of PCR reagents. Similar moves are being taken by Shimadzu and other companies.