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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

Research & Innovation Innovation and Technology Development Office

關於網上傳聞理大宿舍成為隔離營 (only Chinese version)

關於網上傳聞理大宿舍成為隔離營 (only Chinese version)

4 Feb, 2020

Others Communications and Public Affairs Office

理大回應有關研發「布口罩」的報導 (only Chinese version)

理大回應有關研發「布口罩」的報導 (only Chinese version)

31 Jan, 2020

Others Communications and Public Affairs Office

PolyU announces further suspension of face-to-face teaching until 1 March 2020

In view of the latest development of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the Senior Management has decided that all face-to-face teaching will be further suspended until 1 March 2020 (inclusive).  From 10 February 2020 to 1 March 2020, online teaching (plus e-learning) will be conducted instead.  Further details of the teaching arrangements will be announced shortly. Before the resumption of face-to-face teaching, all students, including sub-degree, undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research postgraduate students, are strongly advised to stay at home instead of returning to the campus or the hostels.  For non-local students who are now outside Hong Kong, please stay at home during this period for online learning and return to Hong Kong when face-to-face teaching resumes.  All students who have visited the Mainland (not only limited to Hubei Province) in the past 14 days are required to complete an e-Travel Declaration Form and undertake self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to Hong Kong. The University will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep its students and staff informed of further decisions with regard to teaching and learning arrangements. *****  End  *****

31 Jan, 2020

Others Others

PolyU announces special work and teaching arrangements against the possible spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Further to the precautionary measures released on 25 January, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has implemented additional measures including work from home arrangement for staff and online teaching for students in order to reduce the risk of possible spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The details of the measures are as follows: Special work arrangement will be implemented after the Lunar New Year holidays (starting from 29 January) in order to reduce the risk of the spread of 2019-nCoV in the community. Except for staff of the departments providing emergency services and essential activities, such as preparation for quality online teaching from 10 February as informed by respective Head of Department (HoD), all other employees are not required to return to the offices but to work at home after the holidays. The measure will be implemented tentatively until 2 February and the Senior Management will review the situation before then. Face-to-face teaching will be suspended from 3 to 16 February but the University will provide online teaching (plus e-learning) from 10 to 16 February. The University will review the situation and make necessary arrangements for the period after 16 February in due time. All large scale activities such as workshops, conferences and symposia will be suspended until further notice. Staff are encouraged to use online facilities for meetings and discussions. The HKSAR Government has decided to impose restrictions on all Hubei Province residents and people who have visited Hubei Province in the past 14 days from entering Hong Kong until further notice. Staff members who fall into this group of people should report their situation to the HoD with relevant information for exceptional approval of absence from duty. Staff and students who have visited Hubei Province in the past 14 days should also report their situation to the HoD with relevant information for the neecessary follow-up actions. Staff and students returning from the Mainland are required to complete an e-Travel Declaration Form. They are strongly advised to wear masks on campus and closely monitor their health conditions. All hall residents and their visitors are required to take temperature and report their recent travel history and health condition at the student hostel entrances. For hall residents who have developed a fever or suspected symptoms of 2019-nCoV, the University will immediately assist them to seek medical treatment. As the situation will continue to evolve, the University will keep abreast of the latest development and inform its staff and students of any new arrangements pertaining to the disease. All members of PolyU are reminded to practice strict personal hygiene and adhere to the necessary precautionary measures.

28 Jan, 2020

Others Others

PolyU steps up precautionary measures for the Novel Coronavirus

In light of the latest development of the novel coronavirus, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has established a Task Force on Response Actions for Wuhan Pneumonia with the aim of safeguarding the health of PolyU staff and students. The following measures will be implemented with immediate effect.   1.   All face-to-face teaching will be suspended during the period of 3 February 2020 to 16 February 2020. Face-to-face teaching will resume on 17 February 2020.   2.   All inbound and outbound student and other exchange activities, including but not limited to internships, placements, service learning, etc., with Mainland China will be suspended until further notice.   3.   All staff are encouraged to defer their business visits to Mainland China as far as practicable. If there is a genuine need to visit Mainland China, staff are advised to wear a surgical mask throughout the trip and continue to wear a surgical mask for 14 days after they return to Hong Kong, and to practice strict personal hygiene. The University advises it staff to seek medical consultation promptly if feeling unwell.   4.   All staff and students who have developed a fever or feel unwell are strongly advised to seek medical advice and take medical leave. For students staying at the hostels, they should inform the University immediately under these circumstances.   5.   Effective from 30 January 2020, body temperature screening will be conducted at all entrance checkpoints of the campus and School of Hotel and Tourism Management on a random basis. For Student Halls of Residence, body temperature measurements of all residents and visitors will be taken at the hostel entrances.   6.   Anyone who is found to have developed a fever at the entrances will be advised to seek medical consultation. Professional advice is available to students and staff from UHS which has set up a first aid station at Room AG 206 on main campus and a temporary clinic at the Hung Hom Student Hall of Residence. PolyU members are reminded to maintain strict personal hygiene at all times and stay vigilant against infectious diseases. The University will continue to provide health information and the latest updates about the Novel Coronavirus via its dedicated webpage. It also advises its staff and students to check the updated information from the website of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of HKSAR Government for this novel coronavirus disease. https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/102465.html.

25 Jan, 2020

Others Communications and Public Affairs Office

PolyU Releases the Remaining Test Results for Air Samples Collected on Campus

Further to the first batch of test results on water, soil and surface wipe samples as well as the test results for CS powder of air samples released on 28 December, 2019, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today announced all the remaining test results for the air samples collected at various locations on campus (see Appendix I). The tests cover analyses of several major contaminants including dioxins, total Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) as benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) and 2-Chlorobenzalmalononitrile (the active ingredient of CS powder) in the air samples (see Appendix II). All the test results for dioxins, PCBs, PAHs as BaP and CS powder in the air samples are below the applicable reference levelsof international organisations. Based on the safety assessments of the buildings on the North campus, including assessment of building structural safety and checking of indoor air quality, the results met the applicable health and safety references for resumption of operations. The University also cleaned the filters of air handling systems and potable water tanks as well as conducted a thorough clean-up of the campus and individual buildings. The University is committed to providing PolyU members with a safe and healthy environment for study and work. *****  End  *****

3 Jan, 2020

Others Communications and Public Affairs Office

PolyU Announces the Test Results on Campus Environment Assessment

To ensure a healthy and safe campus for its students and staff members, and to address the concerns about the potential hazards of tear gas residue remaining on its campus, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) appointed  independent accredited laboratories to collect environmental samples at various locations on campus (see Appendix I) in early December 2019 for testing, including air, water, soil and surface wipe samples. The testings cover analyses of several major chemical components in tear gas residue including dioxins, total cyanide, total Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and 2-Chlorobenzalmalononitrile (active ingredient of CS powder) in the samples collected on the campus. The University has received the results of all the tests on water, soil and surface wipe samples, as well as the test results for CS powder of air samples, while the remaining test results for the air samples are expected to be available in January 2020. The test results are benchmarked with the reference limits listed in the authoritative documents of relevant local or international authorities/institutions. According to the test results for soil (S1-8), tap water (WA1-4), and surface wipes (W1-22) samples, as well as the CS powder in air samples, all the aforementioned contaminants are well below their respective reference/reporting limits (see Appendix II). In addition, the University has also carried out safety assessments of the buildings on campus, including assessment of building structural safety, testing of indoor air quality, filter cleaning and a thorough cleanup of individual buildings. The University will do its utmost to ensure the campus meet relevant safety standards so as to offer PolyU members a healthy and safe environment for studying and working.

28 Dec, 2019

Others Communications and Public Affairs Office

Campus Update IV – Campus Access Strictly Restricted, Campus Clean-up In Progress

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today issued an email on " Campus Update IV – Campus Access Strictly Restricted, Campus Clean-up In Progress" to its students, staff and alumni. Please refer to the details in the attachment.

1 Dec, 2019

Others Communications and Public Affairs Office

Campus Update III – PolyU resumed control of its campus

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today issued an email on " Campus Update III – PolyU resumed control of its campus" to its students, staff and alumni. Please refer to the details in the attachment.

29 Nov, 2019

Others Communications and Public Affairs

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