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Chinese universities boost research efforts in bid to curb epidemic

(People's Daily Online)    15:39, February 27, 2020

Chinese universities have been boosting their efforts in scientific research in a bid to help curb the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, with several institutions going all out to develop new test products since the crisis began.

A researcher showcases a nucleic acid test chip developed by West China Hospital affiliated to Sichuan University and Tsinghua University. (Photo by Liu Kun/Xinhua News Agency)

A test kit developed by Shanghai Jiaotong University and ZJ Bio-Tech was approved one month ago, becoming the first COVID-19 detection product to be passed by China’s certification body.

Recently, a newly developed nucleic acid test chip that can detect and distinguish six respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, was approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration.

The product was the result of the joint work of experts from West China Hospital affiliated to Sichuan University, Tsinghua University in Beijing and a Chengdu-based biotech company.

It was developed under the guidance of Zhong Nanshan and Li Lanjuan, two academicians with the Chinese Academy of Engineering who are also members of a national epidemic prevention and control expert team.

The rapid detection chip can detect six common respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, from secretion samples collected from patients’ noses and throats all at once within 1.5 hours.

Researchers at the Nanjing University and Jiangsu Medomics Medical Technology Co. Ltd. have also developed a rapid antibody test kit to detect COVID-19.

The kit has the ability to detect two antibodies to the virus, IgM and IgG, within 15 minutes, and has already been put into use in medical centers in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province.

Chinese universities have also stepped up research and development of drugs and vaccines for use against the virus.

Researchers with Xiamen University, the University of Hong Kong and other institutions are currently testing strains of the virus in order to produce a vaccine.

In addition, a candidate vaccine targeting COVID-19 co-developed by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Shanghai-based Tongji University School of Medicine has been tested on animals.

Meanwhile, the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province, has developed an artificial intelligence imaging diagnosis system for COVID-19, greatly improving diagnosis efficiency.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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