Prague's Charles University is developing a joint coronavirus/flu test, to be launched next month

The test might also deliver results twice as fast as current PCR tests, university officials have announced

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 18.08.2020 10:50 (updated on 18.08.2020)

Prague, Aug 17 (CTK) – Prague’s Charles University (UK), in cooperation with the private sector, is developing a joint flu/coronavirus test that might be launched into the market in mid-September, UK Rector Tomáš Zima told reporters after talks with PM Andrej Babiš (ANO).

Zima, along with Czech Academy of Sciences President Eva Zažímalová, told Babiš that the academic sphere was again ready to provide its capacities for coronavirus testing this autumn as it had done in the spring. Its labs would be able to carry out about 1,000 tests a day.

“New tests are based on an open principle and we will inform the public about them at the beginning of September,” Zima said about the new type of the test.

The joint test may be faster than current COVID-19 tests, Zima said.

It is being developed by a team from the First Medical Faculty of Charles University and three representatives of the commercial sphere, he added.

Unlike the current PCR tests, whose result is known in two hours, the testing time may be shortened by roughly one-half. It is to be finished in September, Zima said.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

The test is simple and safe and its price will not be over the cap on the current sets, roughly 1,700 crowns, Zima said.

Public health officers warn of a possible concurrence of flu and coronavirus infection, which have similar symptoms, in the autumn and winter.

They point out that patients with a serious course of flu and the COVID-19 disease need the same type of hospital beds equipped with oxygen and lung ventilators. This is why the Czech Republic may face a shortage of these intensive care beds if a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic concurred with seasonal flu.

Moreover, people with flu will be weakened and COVID-19 infection may be more dangerous for them.

While researchers are still developing an efficient vaccine against COVID-19, vaccines against flu are annually available.

Their producers have promised to supply to the Czech Republic 70,000 more doses than last year when it received 800,000.

However, government commissioner for medical science and research Roman Prymula, an epidemiologist by profession, said both diseases would probably not concur during the whole flu epidemic.

Prymula also said some 75 percent of people from risk groups, primarily seniors and the chronically ill, should be vaccinated against flu.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

Yet at present, only about 30 percent of seniors annually undergo a flu vaccination, though it is covered from the public health insurance for them.

Many countries afflicted by the novel coronavirus epidemic plan to increase their flu vaccination rate.