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Argentina Hails Production of Rapid, Inexpensive Coronavirus Test

People line up following social distance rules as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 at a street market in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 20, 2020.

Authorities in Argentina are hailing the production of an inexpensive coronavirus test that scientists say provides results in under two hours.

The new test, NEOKIT-COVID-19, which cost around $8, is a collaboration between public and private partners.

Santiago Werbajh, an epidemiologist at the Pablo Cassara Foundation, which contributed to the test’s creation, says the kit is unique in that it can be used on an outpatient basis for massive testing.

The test works by mixing the patient's sample with a liquid solution that turns violet if the person is negative for the coronavirus and blue if they test positive.

Reuters news agency says Argentina's government plans to make the first 10,000 tests available for nationwide use over the next 10 days.

A government spokesperson said some foreign embassies have already been contacted about looking at the new coronavirus rapid test kit.

So far, Argentina has confirmed more than 9,200 COVID-19 cases and 203 deaths.