For the first time in the Maldives, Mediflex, a subsidiary of medical supplies distributor Medtech Maldives, is preparing to begin genome sequencing tests for the new coronavirus variants, including Omicron.
According to a company official, Mediflex will conduct the test in collaboration with American biotech company Illumina, which has already trained Mediflex staff in preparation for genome sequencing in the Maldives.
Although COVID-19 testing is accessible across the Maldives, determining the type of coronavirus variant is not achievable in those facilities.
COVID-19 samples from the Maldives are currently being sequenced in India, which takes two to three weeks.
Mediflex said it will start genome sequencing for coronavirus variants as soon as it receives clearance from the health ministry. The first case of Omicron was detected in the Maldives during a Mediflex trial run. Last week, it ran a trial run on 24 samples.
The company does routine laboratory testing and assists with tests conducted at the main government hospital, IGMH.
According to Mediflex, genetic sequencing done in its facilities will reduce the time it takes to acquire findings from two weeks to two days.