The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi has successfully cultured and isolated the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the lab, it announced Friday.
The achievement would allow quicker test results for nCoV, meaning thousands of samples could be tested a day, said the institute. It would also serve as a basis for the development of a vaccine against the virus, it added.
Vietnam had officially declared the 2019-nCoV an epidemic on Saturday last week.
It confirmed 12 infected cases: five workers returning from China’s Wuhan City last month, the mother, sister and cousin of one of the workers, a Vietnamese-American visitor who transited in Wuhan, a Chinese man from Wuhan and his son who met him in Vietnam, and a hotel receptionist who served the father and son in Nha Trang.
Three of the ten have been discharged from the hospital: the Nha Trang hotel employee, the Chinese son, and one of the workers who returned from Wuhan.
The global death toll from the epidemic has reached 638, with 636 dying in China, one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.