Hong Kong-Based Biotech Firm Develops Rapid Detection Method For New Coronavirus

A Hong Kong biotechnology company said it has successfully developed a rapid detection method for novel coronavirus that is highly accurate and sensitive and can help detect patients who are still in incubation period or asymptomatic.

Albert Yu, chairman of the company, Hai Kang Life Corporation Limited, told Xinhua on Thursday that the “ERT-PCR technology for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus testing” method was developed by a special R&D group of the company based on enhanced fluorescence real-time PCR (ERT-PCR) technology that was successfully applied in clinical diagnosis during the SARS outbreak in 2003.

According to Yu, the method is at least 10 times more sensitive than other methods as it uses an extra set of primers and an additional round of amplification of the target sequence to increase sensitivity and specificity.

Besides being both highly accurate and sensitive, it is also able to analyze a large number of samples at one time, which makes this method of detection effective and efficient, he said.

“Accurate diagnosis of potential viral infections is necessary in effective intervention against infectious outbreaks, and is especially important to reduce chances of transmission. It needs rapid accurate detection,” Yu said.

The company has decided to donate the technology to the community for the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic, Yu said, adding that it will be available for free use for all medical and scientific institutions in need.

“We are working towards fighting the new coronavirus epidemic in collaboration with all sectors in the community to protect the safety and health of the public,” he said.

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