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Thu May 7, 2020, 04:50 PM

Facing Covid test shortage, Argentina develops own serological test

Scientists from Argentina's National Research Council (CONICET) announced the development of a serological test designed to determine exposure to Covid-19 - the first such test developed in Argentina itself.

The test, developed in just 45 days by CONICET researchers working in Buenos Aires' Leloir Institute, was approved yesterday by the country's FDA counterpart, ANMAT.

"Nearly 5,000 (of these) tests have been carried out with excellent results," Dr. Andrea Gamarnik, head of the Leloir Institute's Molecular Virology Laboratory and one of the leaders of the project, said.

"The conditions are in place to immediately offer a production of 10,000 tests per week - and half a million within a month."

Serological tests measure the body’s immune response to infections. Argentina had up to now been dependent on imported tests - adding to the strain on hard currency reserves in a country struggling with a $250 billion foreign currency-denominated debt.

Consequently, only 75,000 Covid-19 tests have been administered in the nation of 45 million - or 1.7 tests per 1,000 people, compared to 12.8 in neighboring Chile and 23.6 in the U.S.

A nationwide stay-at-home order declared by President Alberto Fernández on March 19 has been credited with helping Argentina avoid the public health crisis currently afflicting Brazil and Ecuador.

Argentina has recorded 5,208 cases thus far, and 273 deaths - one-sixth as many as Ecuador, a country with just 40% the population.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&tab=wT&sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pagina12.com.ar%2F264371-coronavirus-el-primer-test-serologico-hecho-en-la-argentina

Then-President Cristina Kirchner congratulates Dr. Andrea Gamarnik for receiving the 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO International Award For Women in Science.

Dr. Gamarnik was again congratulated by Mrs. Kirchner, now Vice President of Argentina, over her team's development of a serological test for the detection of exposure to Covid-19 - the first such test developed in Argentina itself.

The country had dependent up to now on imported tests, limiting Covid test availability in the cash-strapped nation.

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