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S. Korea's real-time PCR used in COVID-19 tests could become global standard Updated: 2020-03-30 17:17:23 KST

South Korea could take the lead in setting the international standards related to the gene amplification method used for COVID-19 diagnostic testing devices.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Monday that the authorization process for the country's real-time polymerase chain reaction technique has been approved by the International Standard Organization as a Draft International Standard.

Polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, makes copies of genetic material in order to amplify that material. Even if only a miniscule amount of a virus is present, the method can still amplify that amount so that there is enough material to accurately confirm the presence of the virus.

Conventional PCR tests provide the results at the end, but the real-time PCR technique used in South Korea's coronavirus test kits allows the results to be seen while the amplification process is still ongoing.

An expert says, while the method is widely used for detecting COVID-19, many countries need guidelines for setting up and applying the method as accuracy and results may differ.

"For the test to be more accurate and to be approved internationally, all the tests should be conducted under a same guideline and system."

South Korea's standard for real-time polymerase chain reactions has already been approved by a technical committee at the International Organization for Standardization. It now just needs final approval from the ISO's participating members to be declared the International Standard.

The Industry and Trade Ministry says the test is expected to become an international standard within this year.
The ministry also expects the authorization to make it easier for South Korean businesses in the field to expand into the global market.
Eum Ji-young, Arirang News.
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