40 minutes results Hong Kong University of Science and Technology developed a new coronavirus portable detection equipment

The situation of the new coronavirus epidemic is serious, and how to diagnose quickly has become a difficult problem to be solved urgently. On February 6, 2020, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) announced on its website that it has developed the world’s fastest portable 2019-Ncov detection device, the “On-site Rapid Molecular Diagnostic Mobile Box”, which takes only 40 minutes from sampling and testing to detect viruses, greatly reducing the time for the diagnosis of new coronavirus infections.

40 minutes results Hong Kong University of Science and Technology developed a new coronavirus portable detection equipment

Photo Source: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Official Website Owner: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Official Website

Adopting the latest microflow-controlled chip technology

The inspection equipment uses standard rapid testing tools (e.g. tools for influenza) and is mainly equipped with nucleic acid amplification detection analyzers, screens, pre-processing instruments, microfluidic chips (refers to the technology of integrating liquid mixing units, separation units, biochemical reaction units, etc. into a chip via micron-scale channels, due to the high degree of integration, The scale is mostly micron-level, so the required samples or reaction reagents are small, the reaction is fast, easy to high-throughput testing) and the new coronavirus nucleic acid testing kit, can detect 8 samples at the same time.

It is reported that the equipment is 33 cm long, 32 cm wide, 16 cm high, light weight, easy to carry, suitable for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, customs, immigration inspection and quarantine departments, homes for the elderly and other places of rapid on-site testing.

40 minutes results Hong Kong University of Science and Technology developed a new coronavirus portable detection equipment

Photo Source: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Official Website Owner: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Official Website

In addition, the device was developed by biotechnology start-up Shenzhen Shineway Technology, a joint professor of physics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Professor Wen Vega, and his PhD graduates, all of whom are researchers or graduates of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Focus on the development of real-time in vitro diagnostic technology of nucleic acid molecules. The team began the study immediately after obtaining a new coronavirus sequence on January 20 and developed a test kit within a week.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Shenzhen and Guangzhou have started using the device, while the research team has provided a set of equipment to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hubei Province. The equipment has been EU CE certified and is now eligible for export to ALL EU countries and Hong Kong, China.

Detection speed is better than conventional nucleic acid testing kits

The recommendations in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for new coronavirus detection are to collect samples (including serum, nasopharyngeal swabs, oral swab samples) and use real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain detection methods (rRT-PCR) – molecular biotechnology for amplifying specific DNA fragments to extract viral RNA.

The speed of temperature change is the key to determining the efficiency of DNA amplification, which means that the faster the temperature rises, the shorter the time it takes to get the test results. Conventional large PCR devices use semiconductor heating, and it usually takes 1.5-3 hours to detect new coronaviruses.

Based on this, the research team of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has developed a new silicon-based microheater module with low thermal quality and good thermal conductivity, which can increase the temperature of conventional PCR devices from an average of 4 to 5 degrees C per second to about 30 degrees C per second, thus greatly reducing the detection time.

It’s best to use a variety of means to diagnose new coronary pneumonia

In fact, current nucleic acid testing kits and CT imaging are the two main ways to detect new coronaviruses. However, the accuracy of both methods is not 100%.

In the case of kits, it has previously been pointed out by researchers that kits often have false positive (misdiagnosis) and false negative (missing) problems, which can lead to errors in test results if the secondary rate can not be controlled. At the same time, the correctness of sampling, the timing of sampling, the preservation and transportation of samples, and even different brands of reagents, may affect the test results.

For CT images, Professor Zhang Minming, Director of Radiology at Zhejiang University’s Second Hospital and Chairman of the Respiratory Committee of the Radiographers’ Branch of the Chinese Physicians Association, believes that CT screening is not widely applicable because – first, CT is particularly prone to cross-infection;

In fact, a paper led by academician Zhong Nanshan entitled “Clinical Characteristics of China’s New Coronary Virus Infection 2019” also mentions:

Of the 840 patients with new coronary pneumonia who received CT imaging after diagnosis, only 76.4% of them showed pneumonia.

It can be seen that the diagnosis of new coronary pneumonia is best to take a variety of means. As can be seen, the above-mentioned Hong Kong University of Science and Technology team developed the “field rapid molecular diagnostic mobile box” to detect the short time-consuming features, and its accuracy is not further explained. This testing device undoubtedly provides a new solution for the rapid diagnosis of new coronary pneumonia at this stage, and the performance of it remains to be considered.