SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean small drug firm Bioneer Corp. said Thursday it has won approval from the local drug safety watchdog to conduct a clinical trial of multi-diagnostic kits that can detect both the novel coronavirus and seasonal influenza.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has given the green light to the two kits that can simultaneously check for the COVID-19 virus and both type A and B influenza infection, it said.
As autumn is approaching, local pharmaceutical companies have joined the race to develop multi-purpose kits to tackle both COVID-19 and the flu, as it is not easy to distinguish coronavirus and flu patients due to their similar symptoms, such as coughing, a sore throat and fever.
"There is rising demand from other countries for the multi-purpose kit. We are rushing to export it in early October," said a company official, who asked not to be named.
Bioneeer said it also is in the process of a separate clinical trial for European approval.
Another similar product earlier received approval for clinical trials from the ministry.
If the use of the test kits is approved, it is expected to shorten the time taken to receive test results, compared with the time for two separate tests.