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. With this belief, PolyU has joined hands with the academia and industry to respond to pressing societal needs.


As the epidemic of COVID-19 continues to develop, the challenge of frontline diagnosis lies in screening infectious diseases that can exhibit similar symptoms in patients. In tackling this challenge, PolyU has joined forces with The University of Hong Kong (HKU) to develop a diagnostic system, which in about an hour in one single test can detect up to 40 pathogens, including the currently raging COVID-19, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).



This world’s most comprehensive, fully automated diagnostic system for pathogens adopts patent-pending microfluidic and biochemical technologies that can increase the sensitivity of the diagnostic tests, thus significantly enhancing the reliability of test results. Most importantly, the innovation, which is now ready for production, can substantially reduce the cost of microfluidic cartridge manufacturing, making it feasible for wide adoption.


This breakthrough is a result of joint efforts in multidisciplinary innovation and research translation, following the establishment of the Respiratory Virus Research Foundation by the two universities in 2015. After four years, the novel diagnostic system is successfully developed under the leadership of Prof. Terence Lau Lok-ting, Director of Innovation and Technology Development of PolyU and Adjunct Professor of the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, with the support of Prof. Yuen Kwok-yung, Chair Professor of Infectious Diseases at HKU. The research team has also received indispensable support from the Avalon Biomedical Management Ltd.