Coronavirus: GSK will start testing at least 6,000 cases per day

Coronavirus: GSK will start testing at least 6,000 cases per day
Credit: Belga

Leading vaccine manufacturer GSK is preparing for large-scale coronavirus (Covid-19) testing at its facility in Rixensart, Wallonia.

By the weekend, GSK will be providing its infrastructure and staff free of charge to the Covid-19 task force led by Federal Minister Philippe De Backer. They will be testing at least 6,000 samples per day, the company said on Wednesday in a press release.

"Thanks to its state-of-the-art facilities, the company will be able to conduct these large-scale tests under the highest biosecurity conditions," GSK wrote. The facilities are currently being rigorously tested.

GSK will be working with tests based on PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology, which is said to be the most reliable form of testing and works by examining the sample's DNA to trace any presence of the virus. The first results should be available within 24 hours, they said.

The company, which has its headquarters in Belgium, plans to conduct these tests as long as necessary to deal with the Covid-19 in Belgium, and may if necessary further increase its analytical capabilities.

"It is a huge advantage we have in Belgium to be able to count on GSK as a world leader in health based at home," said Philippe De Backer, the Federal Minister in charge of Belgium's coronavirus task force. "We are extremely grateful for this free and crucial assistance which will help us, all together, to cope with the pandemic."

GSK will also donate 10 tonnes of additional equipment to Belgian authorities, including cloth overalls, disposable aprons, gloves and soap.

Belgium has counted 23,403 confirmed cases since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 5,668 patients are currently being treated for coronavirus in the hospital, marking the first decrease in the number of people requiring treatment.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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