The Academia Sinica, Tzu Chi University (TCU) & Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital joined forces to successfully develop a COVID-19 detection kit based on patient’s IgM/IgG immune responses. TCU’s Director of the Office of Research and Development Professor Dr. Shun-Ping Huang stated that based on the peptide and plasmid provided by several prestigious scientists at the Academia Sinica, TCU accomplished development of a high accuracy detection kit based on patient’s IgM & IgG antibodies. Only a very small amount of patient’s blood is necessary to confirm their infection history by COVID-19 within 10 minutes. When exposed to the virus infection, specific IgM antibodies will be developed within days and last for weeks, and then subside; more persistent IgG antibodies will follow around the third week. This detection kit will therefore disclose the infection history of a patient.
During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, Academia Sinica President Professor James C. Liao immediately initiated a special task force within the country, the so called “COVID-19 Cooperation Platform,” to investigate and develop a COVID-19 detection kit and medication. They met regularly to report on progress. We are glad that TCU and Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital have been given this opportunity to contribute our efforts and are headed to success within months.
According to TCU’s Industry-University Collaboration Innovation Team Head Wen-Chi Cheng, 14 clinical samples from confirmed cases, and 3 samples from regular medical checkups, have been examined by using this kit. The accuracy, specificity and sensitivity of this test kit is 94%, 100% and 93% respectively. A small amount of this kit has been developed and application for TFDA approval has been underway; meanwhile, we will also seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency. Once approved, large scale production and clinical applications will be contacted. Director of Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital’s ICU Dr. Wen-Lin Su suggested that since the COVID-19 infection is spreading fast globally, non-syndromic COVID-19 individuals could be potential loop holes in epidemic prevention, and may cause mass panic, so a herd immunity among the population is eventually inevitable in the process. By investigating viral infection pathways and understanding the disease, we could achieve the ultimate goal of coexisting peacefully with COVID-19. Until recently, Germany has reported 14% of their population has COVID-19 antibodies, after a small sampling. Iceland lab’s testing suggests as much as 50% of people with COID-19 infection without any symptoms. The infectious condition and its relation to COVID-19 syndrome in Taiwan are unknown. It is perhaps necessary to initiate an investigation, in order to prepare the best epidemic prevention strategy, with a view to minimizing impact on society and the economy, but will protect people’s health here.
Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital Dean Dr. You-Chen Chao expressed his concerns, that in the very early stage of the infection, Tzu Chi Foundation has cooperated well with the government and organizations to provide the best medical service, in addition to concern for medical personnel and home-quarantined individuals, and has provided the world with medical and preventive materials. With successful collaboration between Academia Sinica and TCU, once we have approval from the FDA, we will provide this test kit to countries lacking testing resources, and help them to achieve healthcare and life-saving missions.
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