"A hurricane:" A virus storm sends test-makers into hyperdrive

GUIPRY (France) -- Workers are struggling to meet demand as millions wait in line for COVID-19 testing.

"A hurricane:" A virus storm sends test-makers into hyperdrive

NG Biotech's production lines are humming and producing fresh packaged tests every two seconds or so. French start-up NG Biotech is looking for more people to help it manufacture, which has increased sixfold since the pandemic.

Milovan Stankov -Puges, cofounder and CEO of the Brittany-based test-kit manufacturer says "it has been like an hurricane."

Testing is in high demand due to the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus omicron virus across Europe. Untold numbers of cases are putting strain on infection-detection systems. French laboratories are experiencing shortages of reactive agents required for PCR tests, and they are being forced to ration their usage. France has been experiencing an average of over 200,000 new cases every day for the past week.

France's schools are giving home testing kits to their students to help slow the spread of infections. This will allow them to continue classes. To limit disruption to the economy, and to ensure essential services, the government has relaxed self-isolation rules. This allows people to return to work quicker after they have tested positive. After five days of a negative test result and no symptoms, fully vaccinated people can be released from quarantine.

France has granted permission to health care workers infected by the coronavirus, but with no symptoms, to continue treating patients as a temporary measure to alleviate staff shortages in hospitals.

Sometimes, it was difficult to secure tests. French supermarkets were granted permission to sell self-testing kits, which used to only be available in pharmacies.

Stankov-Puges said that it was impossible to distribute home virus tests under French legislation three to four years ago. His workers were busy packing the tests for shipment.

"In the face necessity, everyone broke down all the barriers and was pragmatic. They arranged things so that the easiest tools could be used at home."

Before the Sweep of the Delta and the subsequent omicron variant prompted governments across Europe to impose unpopular restrictions on vaccination and release boosters, NG Biotech was producing approximately 500,000 tests per Month.

Stankov-Puges stated that the company has increased its testing to 2.5 million in December. Now, Stankov-Puges is aiming to reach 5 million monthly.

He said, "This is a 10-times rise in just three months." "This wave caught everyone off guard."

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