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Japan to approve its first coronavirus antigen test kits on Wednesday

Japan plans to approve its first coronavirus antigen testing kits on Wednesday, a health ministry official said, in a move to boost the number of diagnostic tests available to battle the pandemic.

Fujirebio, a subsidiary of Japanese diagnostics and laboratory testing service provider Miraca Holdings, last month applied for government approval for its antigen kit.

Antigen tests scan for proteins that can be found on or inside a virus. They typically test a sample taken from a nasal cavity using swabs. The tests can detect the virus quickly but produce false negatives at a higher rate than the currently dominant PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, tests.

Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told parliament on Friday that antigen tests, once approved, will likely be used to supplement PCR tests.

Japan has reported about 16,680 confirmed infections, including 712 from the cruise ship previously quarantined in Yokohama, and 670 deaths to date, public broadcaster NHK said.

Although those tallies are relatively low given its population of 126 million, critics say the low rate of testing has made it difficult to trace the virus, which has led to a series of in-hospital infections, crippling some facilities.

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Meeta Ramnani
Meeta Ramnani
Meeta develops credible content about various markets based on deep research, opinions from experts and inputs from industry leaders. As the managing editor at Smart Industry News, she assures that every piece of news and article adds to the knowledge of decision makers. An avid bike rider, Meeta, is a postgraduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, where her specialization was Business Journalism. She carries experience from mainstream print media including The Times Group and Sakal Media Group.
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