Japan plans to clear its first COVID-19 antigen testing kits Wednesday, a health ministry delegate stated, in a move to increase the number of diagnostic tests available to fight the pandemic.
Fujirebio, a unit of Japanese diagnostics and laboratory testing service provider Miraca Holdings, In April utilized for government clearance for its antigen kit.
Antigen tests scan for proteins that can be found on or inside a virus. They typically test a pattern taken from a nasal cavity utilizing swabs. The tests can detect the virus quickly but produce false negatives at a higher rate than the currently dominant polymerase chain reaction (PCR), checks.
Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told parliament Friday that antigen tests, as soon as approved, will likely be used to complement PCR tests.
Japan has registered nearly 16,680 confirmed infections, along with 712 from the cruise ship previously quarantined in Yokohama, and 670 deaths to date, public broadcaster NHK stated.
Although these tallies are relatively low given its population of 126 million, critics say the low rate of testing has made it tough to trace the virus, which has led to a series of in-hospital infections, crippling some services.
Japan has carried out 188 PCR tests per 100,000 people, in contrast with 3,159 in Italy and 3,044 in Germany, information from a panel of medical experts advising the federal government showed last week.
The U.S. last week accepted its first coronavirus antigen kit, one manufactured by Quidel Corp.