Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor) Feb 11 2020
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today announced the development of the world's most comprehensive automated multiplex diagnostic system (the System) which includes a fully automated machine and a multiplex full-screening panel for the point-of-care genetic testing (POCT) of respiratory infectious disease including the 2019-nCoV.
In one single test and within approximately one hour, the System can identify 30 to 40 pathogens including seasonal influenza viruses, such as influenza A subtypes H1, H2 and H3, avian influenza viruses H5, H7 and H9, human respiratory syncytial virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and 2019-nCoV. Leveraging the current polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, the system is fully automated from sample nucleic acid extraction and amplification, to signal detection and analysis. The System adopts patent-pending microfluidic and biochemical technologies that achieve ultra-sensitive detection (down to 5 gene copies) and simultaneous differentiation of various pathogens with extremely high specificity. It is also user-friendly, with manual handling not being required throughout the testing process.
Early and accurate detection of pathogens could contribute to effective and efficient disease control and management, and prevent spreading of any contagious pathogens. It benefits the patients as well because timely therapy can then be applied to prevent complications. The existing challenge is that we lack full panel POCT technologies for early and on-site diagnosis, which should ideally be capable of differentiating between different pathogens at the same time. This newly-developed system could be a practical solution." Terence Lau Lok-ting, PolyU Professor
PolyU and The University of Hong Kong (HKU) have established the Respiratory Virus Research Foundation ("the Foundation") in 2015 and have since then been working on various innovative technologies to tackle existing and emerging respiratory infectious diseases. The Foundation has fostered various collaborations, including those on vaccine and rapid diagnostics respectively. The former is led by HKU Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, Henry Fok Professor in Infectious Diseases, Chair Professor of Infectious Diseases from the Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine; the latter is led by PolyU Professor Terence Lau Lok-ting, Director of Innovation and Technology Development and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology.
Ir. Professor Alexander Wai Ping-kong, Vice President (Research Development), Deputy President and Provost designate of PolyU said, "In this difficult and challenging time that Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, and even the global community is encountering, it is important that the research community can quickly pool their expertise and resources to develop practical solutions. The PolyU-HKU partnership is a prime example of effective coupling of multidisciplinary innovation and translation." Related Stories
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