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PolyU master’s degree programmes train talents in occupational therapy and physiotherapy meeting urgent demand from the social welfare sector for healthcare/rehabilitation manpower

While the demand for healthcare services is growing drastically in Hong Kong, the supply of qualified therapists is far from adequate especially in the social welfare sector, bringing difficulties to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in meeting the healthcare and rehabilitation needs of society. To alleviate this manpower shortage, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) of HKSARG has been offering a Training Sponsorship Scheme in collaboration with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and NGOs since 2012. The two master’s entry degree programmes PolyU is offering under this Scheme are Master in Occupational Therapy (MOT) and Master in Physiotherapy (MPT). Introduced in 2012, these two-year full-time programmes provide an opportunity for those who aspire to serve the community as competent and qualified therapists. Under this Scheme, potential talents are funded by NGOs to take part in a two-year master’s entry degree programme either in occupational therapy or physiotherapy. After graduation, these students are required to contribute to the work of the NGOs they signed up for three consecutive years. The Scheme has yielded good results with over 250 students having been trained in four cohorts under the Scheme to serve in NGOs that offer care and rehabilitation services for the elderly, persons with disabilities or children with special needs. Well received by the social welfare sector, the Scheme will be extended for another three cohorts in 2021, 2022 and 2023. The next cohort is open for application today (12 August 2020)

12 Aug, 2020

Innovation and Technology Development Office

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PolyU secures HK$18.2 million funding from Health and Medical Research Fund to conduct eight studies on COVID-19

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has secured over HK$18 million funding from the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF) of the Food and Health Bureau (FHB), to commence eight research studies on COVID-19. These projects cover a wide range of disciplines including health technology, biomedical sciences, healthcare, rehabilitation as well as social sciences. PolyU hopes that research teams from different fields can contribute their expertise to supporting the local community in the fight against COVID-19 and to facilitating formulation of pandemic control measures, thus helping to protect the health of the general public.

11 Aug, 2020

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

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PolyU collaborates with Macau University of Science and Technology to advance diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia

COVID-19 is taking its toll on the world, affecting more than 200 countries and regions. In the face of a surge in cases, rapid diagnosis and identification of high-risk patients for early intervention is crucial for controlling the pandemic. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is committed to the fight against COVID-19 and has been collaborating with various partners in the prevention and control of the disease.  PolyU today announced the launch of a new AI system jointly developed with the Macau University of Science and Technology (M.U.S.T.) in conjunction with other Chinese institutions, to assist in the rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia. This research was published in the prestigious international journal Cell, in a paper entitled “Clinically Applicable AI System for Accurate Diagnosis, Quantitative Measurements, and Prognosis of COVID-19 Pneumonia Using Computed Tomography” (link).   The novel AI-assisted diagnostic system, based on computed tomography (CT) chest imaging, can efficiently distinguish COVID-19 pneumonia from other viral pneumonia, and predict the severity level in 20 seconds, with an accuracy of up to 90% or above. It assists radiologists and physicians in performing a quick diagnosis, especially when the health system is overloaded.

15 Jun, 2020

Innovation and Technology Development Office

PolyU and You: Online Lecture Series

留家抗疫 不忘增值 「理大與您: 網上專題講座系列」即將上線 (only Chinese version)

留家抗疫  不忘增值 「理大與您: 網上專題講座系列」即將上線 (only Chinese version)  

21 Apr, 2020

Academic Registry

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PolyU Senior Management donates 10 per cent of their salaries to support the needy students

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about severe impact on the global economy. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today announced that the senior management including the President and all Vice Presidents will donate 10% of their salaries over a period of 12 months from April 2020 to help students with financial hardship. The details of the financial assistance scheme will be announced in due course.   President Jin-Guang TENG said, “The pandemic has been seriously affecting all businesses, and we are particularly concerned with the financial challenges faced by some of our students and their families due to the current situation. We hope this financial assistance scheme will help them in tiding over the difficult times.”   *****  End  *****

18 Apr, 2020

Others

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Bracing for a long battle against COVID-19: General Use Face Shields designed by PolyU ready for mass production

The situation in Hong Kong has become more critical amid the rise of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections. Experts have warned that members of the public should prepare for a long fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few months, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has been closely monitoring the situation and has devised plans to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. In February 2020, PolyU designed and started producing disposable face shields for the Hospital Authority in order to alleviate the immediate need for protective gear amongst frontline medical professionals. PolyU today announced the launch of two new reusable face shields, namely “General Use Face Shield” and “Extra Protection Face Shield”, both of which will soon be available at affordable prices. It is hoped that the face shields could provide enhanced protection for the public in their daily lives and working environment thus minimising the risks of virus transmission in the community.

2 Apr, 2020

Faculty of Engineering

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PolyU designs a new 3D-printed face shield for HA • Mass production in local factories will help fulfil the imminent needs of medical personnel

In the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields and disposable gowns are badly needed in hospitals. With a view to alleviating the imminent need for protective gear amongst frontline medical professionals, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has been collaborating with Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE) and the Hospital Authority (HA) respectively to design and produce 3D-printed eye shields and face shields. PolyU has mobilised all its 3D printers in its University Research Facility in 3D Printing (U3DP) and in other departments to operate 24 hours a day to produce 700 eye shields and over 800 face shields over the last 10 days.  With support from the local manufacturing industry with which PolyU has strong connections, the production of face shields has been increased to 10,000 pieces per day starting from today, and will reach 30,000 pieces per day by late March. It is hoped that this steady supply of face shields will help meet the imminent needs of Hong Kong's frontline medical personnel. "During the coronavirus outbreak, solidarity is one of the essential elements to battle the disease. The partnership between PolyU, HA/QE and the industry is a good example that embodies the spirit of 'when one place suffers, aid come from all sides'. We join hands to overcome these difficult times together," said Professor Alexander WAI Ping-kong, Vice President (Research Development), Deputy President and Provost designate, PolyU. Dr Vivien CHUANG, HA Chief Manager (Infection, Emergency and Contingency) said, PolyU has made every effort to develop a swift solution for rapidly producing face shields and to help us line up domestic production, thus we can fill up the stockpile of face shields to meet our need during the epidemic.  "I would like to express our deep gratitude to PolyU and all local manufacturers for their full support and active participation to make this meaningful collaboration a successful one." Dr Chuang added. From design, to mould-making, and finally to production took just a fortnight. This is very exceptional in terms of the short time taken in manufacturing a product, and thanks are due to the dedication and seamless support from the industry. "Since the face shield is a one-off disposable item, we chose a less expensive PLA filament material to develop the 3D printed frame and attached it with a plastic clear film. We also leveraged the studies of our School of Design in the comparison of head size between Asians and Westerners in order to design a face shield that better fits Chinese wearers. Designed by PolyU and made in Hong Kong, this is a testament to the competence and capability of the Hong Kong manufacturing industry. We can do it and we must do it. I am especially heartened by our friends in industry who have pledged their support without a second thought," said Professor HC MAN, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Director of University Research Facility in 3D Printing, PolyU. ***** END *****

25 Feb, 2020

University Research Facility in 3D Printing

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PolyU develops the world’s most comprehensive rapid, automated multiplex diagnostic system for detecting up to 40 infectious respiratory pathogens (including novel coronavirus) in a single test

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). 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 (down to 5 gene copies) and simultaneous differentiation of various pathogens with extremely high specificity. It is also user-friendly, with manual handling not being required throughout the testing process. "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. The existing challenge is that we lack full panel POCT technologies for early and on-site diagnosis, which should ideally be capable of differentiating between different pathogens at the same time. This newly-developed system could be a practical solution," said Professor Lau. PolyU and The University of Hong Kong (HKU) have established the Respiratory Virus Research Foundation ("the Foundation") in 2015 and have since then been working on various innovative technologies to tackle existing and emerging respiratory infectious diseases. The Foundation has fostered various collaborations, including those on vaccine and rapid diagnostics respectively. The former is led by HKU Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, Henry Fok Professor in Infectious Diseases, Chair Professor of Infectious Diseases from the Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine; the latter is led by PolyU Professor Terence Lau Lok-ting, Director of Innovation and Technology Development and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology. Ir. Professor Alexander Wai Ping-kong, 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 Professor Terence Lau Lok-ting and supported by HKU Professor Yuen Kwok-yung. Through collaborative efforts, the team has spent the past four years to develop the System. In the past year, the team has optimised  the System and conducted trials on different clinical samples. In the midst of the 2019-nCoV outbreak, the team has also conducted tests on clinical samples using the system. Professor 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."  "This fully automated, quantitative rapid diagnostic platform possesses a proprietary technology which overcomes limitations of existing technologies by ensuring sensitivity – and hence significantly enhancing the reliability of test results. Most importantly, 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 Professor Lau. The research team has received indispensable support from a local biotechnology company Avalon Biomedical Management Ltd for this project.  "We are honoured to be able to participate in this project and are delighted to see this important milestone in the collaboration between Professor Lau and Professor Yuen. We believe this advanced point-of-care diagnostic system can revolutionize the current diagnostic paradigm and provide a powerful tool to fight against infectious diseases," said Dr Manson Fok, Chairman of the Board of the company, Executive & Trust Committee member of Macau Henry Fok Foundation and Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology. Humankind's modern day battles against epidemics remain a major challenge and it is vital that we keep learning from the past and equipping ourselves with the best technologies available. Towards this end the research team will continue to urgently focus on developments to ensure the system's robustness and cost-effectiveness, and to collaborate with relevant parties on clinical trials, regulatory approvals, and frontline applications of this POCT system. Video sharing by HKU Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, Henry Fok Professor in Infectious Diseases, Chair Professor of Infectious Diseases from the Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine : https://1drv.ms/v/s!Ah36VjAc5xZyslvcbf7xhXn4XtvE?e=0FDLSl ***** END *****

11 Feb, 2020

Innovation and Technology Development Office

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