REAL TIME RT-PCR ASSAY TO DETECT SARS-COV-2 IN THAILAND
The Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) conducts medical research and disease surveillance to develop and evaluate medical products, vaccines and diagnostics to protect Royal Thai Army personnel from infectious diseases. Currently regarding globalized travel, infectious diseases pose a constantly evolving threat, indiscriminately transcending national, regional and even intercontinental boundaries. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, AFRIMS has gained knowledge from diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a reference protocol. We set up and developed the molecular diagnosis detection for SARS-CoV-2, Real-time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), to analyze the nucleocapsid (N) genome of SARS-CoV-2 which is a standardized method in the laboratory. AFRIMS is certified by the Department of Medical Science, Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) as a COVID-19 laboratory network. We provided COVID-19 screening services to government units and private hospitals in late February 2020. It could be stated that AFRIMS is the first military unit to be certified by the MOPH. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in Bangkok, 3,172 samples have been tested and 96 samples have been confirmed. Detecting viral RNA not only aids in the diagnosis of illness but also provides epidemiological and surveillance information.
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