Japan to approve its first coronavirus antigen test kits on Wednesday
Japan is planning to approve its first COVID-19 antigen testing kits on Wednesday, according to an official from the Health Ministry. The decision comes in a bid to increase the number of diagnostic tests available to combat the pandemic.
Fujirebio Inc. had applied for government approval for its antigen kit in April. Fujirebio is a subsidiary of the Japan-based diagnostics and lab-testing provider, Miraca Holdings.
Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on Friday that if the antigen tests are approved, it may be used to supplement PCR tests.
Japan has carried out 188 PCR tests per 100,000 people, in contrast to Italy and Germany where 3,159 and 3,044 tests were conducted respectively. The data was taken from a panel of medical experts who had advised the government last week.
According to public broadcaster NHK, Japan had around 16,680 confirmed cases with a death toll of 670.
Experts claimed that the low rate of testing had made tracing the virus challenging. This would lead to the occurrences of many in-hospital infections, disrupting facility operations.
The United States had also approved its first COVID-19 antigen kit last week and was produced by Quidel Corp.