Production of COVID-19 PCR test kits began in Azerbaijan this week by the Diamed Co. Syringe Manufacturing Plant, a medical factory established as a joint venture between the state and private sector in 2019. Caspian News reports that the joint venture saw the launch of an all-new production line designed to help Azerbaijan's government ramp up daily COVID-19 tests.
By producing PCR tests locally, Azerbaijan can reduce its reliance on imports of test kits, thus preventing the capital outflow and offering low prices for products leading to an increase in the availability of testing for the novel coronavirus, the manufacturer was quoted as saying by local media.
Two types of tests for COVID-19 are currently available in Azerbaijan: PCR testing and serology or antibody testing. The PCR test, also called a molecular test, is done to detect the genetic material of the virus using a lab technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). It takes a fluid sample by inserting a nasal swab into the nostril or into the back of the throat. The fluid is then analyzed in laboratories for identifying the real-time incursion of the virus's cell into the body.
The serology or antibody test looks for the presence of antibodies instead of virus cells. The antibodies are specific proteins made in response to infections and typically detected in the blood post-infection. Results of such tests are especially important for the diagnosis of infections people got with few or no symptoms.
COVID-19 has infected more than 529,000 people in Azerbaijan since the confirmation of the first case in February 2020. The lives claimed by the virus stand at 7,049. Currently, 29,686 active COVID-19 patients are being treated in the country.
According to the latest data compiled by the Operative Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan, 9.61 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the country since the start of the mass inoculation in January 2021. More than 4.39 million people of Azerbaijan’s population of ten million have already completed the two-dose vaccination, according to the statistics.
Most of the vaccinated people have received the Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine. Azerbaijan purchased a total of 9 million doses of the Sinovac-produced vaccine.
In addition to CoronaVac, Azerbaijan’s health officials authorized Vaxzevria (formerly AstraZeneca), Sputnik V, and Pfizer-BioNTech.