PolyU develops the most comprehensive automated multiplex diagnostic system for detecting infectious

Infectious diseases represent an important portion of global public health concerns¸ in particular with regard to the current global outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
 
 
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HUNG HOM, Hong Kong - Feb. 11, 2020 - PRLog -- The challenge of frontline diagnosis in hospitals, clinics and ports is that infectious diseases could exhibit similar symptoms or can be asymptomatic. 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.

"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. This newly-developed system could be a practical solution," said Prof. Lau.

Ir. Prof. Alexander Wai, 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."

The research team for this project is led by PolyU Prof. Terence Lau and supported by HKU Prof. Yuen Kwok-yung. Through collaborative efforts, the team has spent the past four years to develop the System. In the midst of the 2019-nCoV outbreak, the team has also conducted tests on clinical samples using the system.

Prof. Yuen commented, "The System's versatility and capability will provide for comprehensive monitoring during disease outbreaks or routine surveillance. It will become a crucial technology for ensuring the effective control of infectious diseases, medical diagnosis, and treatment."

"Our innovation can substantially reduce the cost of the microfluidic cartridge manufacturing thus making it feasible for wide adoption. It is ready for mass-scale production," added Prof. Lau.

https://www.polyu.edu.hk/web/en/home/index.html

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