Seegene Inc., a leading South Korean molecular diagnostics company will partner with LabHouse, a test center based in Vietnam, to launch the world’s first In-life PCR campaign in August. To start the rollout, testing will begin with Grab drivers in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and will later be expanded to other cities.
Seegene will provide Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV Assay to simultaneously detect COVID-19, flu, and cold while the LabHouse will collect clinical samples, perform the PCR test process, and provide the PCR results to Grab drivers in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.
Seegene's In-life PCR campaign is a global initiative that seeks to encourage regular testing of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, flu, and colds, to stay protected from infectious diseases.
The campaign’s goal is to curb widespread transmission and ensure a smooth return to normalcy by targeting those at community-based facilities like schools and nursing homes, as well as individuals that are asymptomatic.
In the US, inbound testing is no longer required since June. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s now a lower risk of severe disease and death citing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, availability of therapeutics, and the rate of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity.
While the threat remains prevalent in Vietnam, the government has already lifted most of the entry restrictions since May. Anyone can enter and visit any destinations given they have valid visas.
However, for the citizens as well as visitors, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism reiterated the importance of face masks in prevention and control. The ministries also emphasized that tourists traveling around the country must comply with the face masks mandate when in crowded places.
Countering COVID-19 resurgence
Seegene’s Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV Assay can simultaneously detect COVID-19, flu A and B, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The South Korean company will also provide necessary PCR instruments and systems to address increased testing demand from the In-life PCR campaign. They also plan to provide its fully automated PCR solution 'STARlet-AIOS' for convenient and high-throughput workflows.
With the availability of the necessary testing instruments, LabHouse will then collect clinical samples, perform the PCR test process, and provide the PCR results to Grab drivers. Drivers can get tested at LabHouse, or even have a technician visit them for sample collection at a time and location of preference. For the campaign to reach more people, LabHouse is in talks with hospitals in other cities.
Nguyen Khoi Do, CEO of LabHouse, said, they decided to launch the In-life PCR campaign with Seegene to preemptively take action against the global COVID-19 resurgence driven by new variants and increased travel. "Through regular testing, we hope to protect the health and safety of drivers as well as Grab service users."
To drive awareness, Grab will advertise the campaign on its social media platforms and promote the participation of its drivers. The ride-hailing and delivery service provider also plans to separately categorize drivers who test negative on its app, which is expected to attract passengers who want to use the service safely, as well as encourage voluntary testing among drivers.