May 15, 2020 / 3:39 AM / 10 days ago

South Korean coronavirus test maker Osang ready to ship 100 million kits to U.S.

SEOUL (Reuters) - Osang Healthcare Co, the first South Korean maker of coronavirus test kits to win preliminary approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, is ready to ship kits that can test 100 million people in the United States, an executive said on Friday.

Fast-track approval, followed by a massive testing campaign and intensive contact tracing, is credited with helping South Korea slow the disease and avoid strict lockdowns, while the United States has been criticised for a slow response.

Osang is in talks with U.S. distributors to source its test kits to different states, said the executive, Lee Sung-ho, but he declined to elaborate.

The firm’s global exports of about 10 million tests includes 760,000 tests to U.S. customers, with 300,000 going to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and more to state governments via an intermediary, Lee added.

Osang has the capacity to make 15 million tests each week, Lee added, in statements that first appeared in a Bloomberg interview on Thursday with the firm’s chief executive.

The firm won FDA approval last month.

Shares in parent company Osangjaiel Co Ltd have more than doubled since late February.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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