Saudi Arabian experts produce coronavirus diagnostic test

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Saudi Arabian experts at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital (KFSH) Research Center in Riyadh have successfully developed a diagnostic test to detect coronavirus infection.

The diagnostic test is based on investigating the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of the COVID-19 virus and has been recognized by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (FDA).

Dr. Ali al-Zahrani, CEO – KFSH Research Center, stated that the facility held the equipment to produce “primers”.

Primers are short, single-stranded DNA sequences used in the PCR technique. The primers join to the virus’ RNA (the molecular compound which carries the genetic codes of viruses) to convert it into DNA, enabling the PCR to detect it.

The CEO of King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC) Dr. Majid al-Fayyadh said that the recently developed test will allow the hospital to test coronavirus laboratory samples efficiently using a local product.

Dr. Al-Fayyadh continued that this assists in facing any shortages in commercially manufactured products, abroad, or inside the Kingdom, due to the high demand during the pandemic.

He also stated the hospital and research center are available to produce primers for the diagnostic test for use in local laboratories and are ready to share the protocol with labs in the GCC to meet the shortages of the commercial ones.