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Thursday, February 06, 2020, 14:25
HKUST’s invention to speed up diagnoses of novel coronavirus
By Chen Zimo
Thursday, February 06, 2020, 14:25 By Chen Zimo

This undated photo shows a new device invented by Professor Wen Weijia of the Department of Physics at HKUST that claims to bring down the time to test for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to 40 minutes from three hours. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong scientists have developed a new device that can shorten the testing time for the novel coronavirus to 40 minutes from up to three hours. 

The new technology is being applied on the Chinese mainland to help it combat against the epidemic outbreak

The new technology is being applied on the Chinese mainland to help it combat against the epidemic outbreak that has infected more than 28,000 people and killed over 560 so far. 

The device, developed by a team at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, has greatly improved the efficiency of identifying the infection. The current method, "reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction" test, or RT-PCR, usually takes 1.5 to 3 hours to produce results.

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Two new testing devices from the university have been donated to the Guangzhou Nansha Center for Disease Control and Prevention and have been put in use, said Wen Weijia, professor of Department of Physics at HKUST.

The kit is also easy to use and is portable, making it highly applicable at disease control centers, immigration and customs checkpoints. It can detect samples of nasopharyngeal specimens, sputum, blood, stool or eye conjunctiva, said Wen.

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The team also donated 1,000 rapid nucleic test kits to Guangzhou and 2000 to Shenzhen. 

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