Rakuten, Inc. is collaborating with genetic testing kit pioneer Genesis Healthcare Co. to offer to businesses and other organizations in Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture and Ibaraki Prefecture starting April 20 a COVID-19 PCR testing kit developed by Genesis Healthcare with the cooperation of Souseikai Medical Corporation that adheres to the PCR analysis standard set by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
The COVID-19 PCR testing kit is intended for people who do not show the symptoms of COVID-19 infection defined by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) as guidelines for medical consultation and examination but are concerned about possible spread of the virus. Use of the testing kit is intended to support businesses and organizations in improving their understanding of the level of impact of COVID-19 across their workforce and promoting effective communications.
The testing kit determines whether or not the sample contains the RNA sequences specific to COVID-19. Organizations which introduce the tests are asked to establish socially responsible policies and respond appropriately based on the test results.
The testing kit is not intended for use by people displaying the symptoms of COVID-19 infection defined by the MHLW as guidelines for medical consultation and examination.
Plans are also underway to introduce the testing kits on a trial basis to employees within the Rakuten Group and partner companies who wish to take the tests and work for businesses that are legally required to continue operating or are part of social infrastructure, such as employees of the mobile, logistics and finance businesses.
From today, the testing kits will be provided to businesses and other organizations, with further expansion into other areas starting in May under consideration, taking into account the demand from organizations and the impact on medical care provision.
Rakuten will act as the point of contact for organizations wishing to purchase the testing kits. The price per unit is 14,900 yen (tax included), however a special price has also been set for organizations depending on the number of units to be purchased.
Organizations which purchase the testing kits may provide them to their employees and other stakeholders for the collection of samples by the individual at home following the instructions included in the kit.
After placing the sample in the leak-proof container, the container should then be placed in the triple-sealed envelope, and after two or more hours, be placed in one of the dedicated collection boxes set up in a specified location for collection by the organization.
After Genesis Healthcare collects the sample, the results of the test will be communicated in one to three days (excluding weekends and holidays). The collection of samples through this method is being carried out with the advice of related organizations.
Genesis Healthcare, with its long history of genetic analysis and collaborative research, provides genetic analysis services and holds one of the largest genetic information databases in Japan (approximately 840,000 individuals across Asia as of March 2020). Rakuten became an investor in Genesis Healthcare in August 2017.
The company also sells the “GeneLife®” commercial genetic testing kits, as well as the “GenesisPro” genetic testing kits for medical professionals and operates its own DNA data marketplace “Genesis Gaia.” In September 2014, the company opened their GeneLife Store on the Rakuten Ichiba internet shopping mall.
Rakuten and Genesis Healthcare will continue working to establish a system that can respond to potential increases in COVID-19 infections.