A unit of China’s BGI Genomics, one of the first developers of a Covid-19 diagnostic test, has signed a USD265 million contract with Saudi Arabia’s national procurement firm to furnish the kingdom with the means to implement wide-scale testing and detection of the novel coronavirus.
Hong Kong-based BGI Health will supply nine million Covid-19 test kits to Napco, which is the exclusive distributor of pharmaceutical and medical supplies and devices to Saudi Arabia’s 4,000 public hospitals and health care units, BGI said.
It will also help build six large laboratories in the Middle Eastern nation, including a mobile lab that can conduct 10,000 tests per day, it added. Shenzhen-based BGI will send 500 medical experts to train Saudi healthcare workers in the correct test protocols.
Saudi Arabia is stepping up its response to Covid-19. Its health ministry confirmed 1,223 new cases yesterday, bringing the total to 17,522.
The contract is equivalent to 67 percent of BGI’s earnings last year, the statement said. If all goes well, Riyadh-based Nupco will become one of BGI’s major clients and this will have a positive impact on the firm’s operating results this year and beyond. Valid for eight months, the contract can be extended for three months if both parties agree, it said.