New kits from China will help Ireland significantly increase Covid-19 testing

Dr Paul O’Brien, a regulatory expert on China, has said that Ireland now has the capacity to perform extra Covid-19 tests thanks to equipment sourced in China.
New kits from China will help Ireland significantly increase Covid-19 testing

Ireland now has the capacity to perform up to 100,000 Covid-19 tests per week due to new equipment sourced in China.

New testing kits and reagent sourced from China should allow Ireland to significantly ramp up its testing capacity but it could take a fortnight to coordinate the efforts across the country.

Dr Paul O’Brien, a regulatory expert on China, told RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke, that a coordinated effort with the IDA yielded a significant number of test kits. It has now been flown to Ireland by Aer Lingus.

The National Virus Reference Library has completed extensive due diligence on the equipment which is “up to spec” he said. It is of ‘gold standard’ quality.

The additional testing capacity will give Ireland a better chance at replicating South Korea’s model of testing and tracing, he explained.

Dr O’Brien, whose connections in China were crucial to sourcing the equipment, added that the narrative about PPE quality “has been skewed” and said that previous issues were more to do with regulatory questions than quality.

On the same programme, infectious diseases consultant, Prof Paddy Mallon warned that it would take two weeks to get coordination “up to scratch.”

“What we have in place now is the PCR machines and the reagent supply to do literally hundreds of thousands of extractions,” he said.

"Containment of this infection is key to us getting out of the lockdown safely, if we have testing operating at a high volume, and the reproduction number less than one, then we're in a position to test our way out of this.

“It's up now to the HSE to coordinate so someone who wakes up on a Monday morning with symptoms can get access to a swab, to process that swab, and to feed back the result within 24 hours. This needs to happen between now and the start of May,” said Prof Mallon.

The equipment is now being distributed around the country so that testing can be ramped up, said Prof Mallon.

Prof Mallon said Ireland encountered the same problems as many other countries in Europe: reagent and extraction kits were running low and many countries were competing for same supplies.

"It is one large piece of the jigsaw,” he added.

Respiratory consultant at the Bon Secours hospital in Cork, Dr Oisin O’Connell said this was “fantastic for Ireland as a whole.”

Testing capacity has to be increased to limit the spread of Covid-19, he said.

“This deal has really helped that.”

Increased testing and rapid results along with increased tracking and tracing will allow the country to get the economy back up and running earlier, he said.

Ireland to be able to perform extra Covid-19 tests thanks to equipment sourced in China

By Vivienne Clarke

Dr Paul O’Brien, a regulatory expert on China, has said that Ireland now has the capacity to perform extra Covid-19 tests thanks to equipment sourced in China.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Séan O’Rourke show he explained that because of contacts he developed when training in China, along with support from the IDA, the testing equipment was sourced and then flown to Ireland by Aer Lingus.

The National Virus Reference Library has completed extensive due diligence on the equipment which is “up to spec” he said. It is of ‘gold standard’ quality.

Following discussions with Chinese hospitals, including a centre of excellence for infectious diseases, and a telecast facilitated by RTÉ, the Chinese were “very impressed” that Ireland was trying to copy some of their strategies, which made the procurement process easier, added Dr O’Brien.

On the same programme, infectious diseases consultant, Prof Paddy Mallon warned that it would take two weeks to get coordination “up to scratch.”

“What we have in place now is the PCR machines and the reagent supply to do literally hundreds of thousands of extractions".

"Containment of this infection is key to us getting out of the lockdown safely, if we have testing operating at a high volume, and the reproduction number less than 1, then we're in a position to test our way out of this.

“It's up now to the HSE to coordinate so someone who wakes up on a Monday morning with symptoms can get access to a swab, to process that swab, and to feed back the result within 24 hours. This needs to happen between now and the start of May,” said Prof. Mallon.

It was Dr O’Brien’s contacts in China that gave access to these vital supplies, he added.

The equipment is now being distributed around the country so that testing can be ramped up, said Prof. Mallon.

“The ground work is done now,” said Dr. O’Brien.

Respiratory consultant at the Bon Secors hospital in Cork, Dr Oisin O’Connell said this was “fantastic for Ireland as a whole.” Testing capacity has to be increased to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“This deal has really helped that.”

Increased testing and rapid results along with increased tracking and tracing will allow the country to get the economy back up and running earlier, he said.

    The current restrictions started on Friday, March 27. They mandate that everyone should stay at home, only leaving to:
  • Shop for essential food and household goods;
  • Attend medical appointments, collect medicine or other health products;
  • Care for children, older people or other vulnerable people - this excludes social family visits;
  • Exercise outdoors - within 2kms of your home and only with members of your own household, keeping 2 metres distance between you and other people
  • Travel to work if you provide an essential service - be sure to practice physical distancing

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