Is your country in short of COVID-19 Antibody kit (GICA, Rapid Card)?
In the Xiang'an Campus of Xiamen University, the Tuoyuanlou is the location of the National Infectious Disease Diagnostic Reagent and Vaccine Engineering Technology Research Center laboratory of Xiamen University.
Wu Yangtao and Wang Shaojuan, which are both Ph.D. students, are partners in the lab. Like many researchers, their research needs to be completed in a closed, quiet experimental space. From gene sequence, construction of cloning, to expression and purification of protein, they cannot afford to overlook anything. Since there is no real sample of the COVID-19, their research must start with making elements of "viruses" by themselves.
Wu Yangtao, a PHD candidate in the National Infectious Disease Diagnostic Reagent and Vaccine Engineering Technology Research Center Lab of Xiamen University: "Patients infected with the COVID-19,will produce antibodies against the Novel Coronavirus.So only if we test Antibodies to COVID-19 in the patient ’s body,can we determine if the patient is infected with the virus."
What's the hardest part of this process?
"Due to the celebration of New Year, many scientific research service companies are on holidays.So everything depends on our laboratory.
We do it in the most primitive, clumsy, and slowest way.For example, in dealing with the gene that expresses the protein,if in normal times,we can take it to the company that specializes in the gene synthesis to synthesize it.Currently, we're using the most primitive method.For instance, it is a gene with a length of more than a thousand,We use the most primitive method to divide it into several sections, as length of over one hundred averagely and splice them."
The team in the lab extracted antigen genes, then expressed the recombinant protein, and purified the antigen. Many teachers and students even lived in the laboratory and worked day and night.
Wang Shaojuan, a PHD candidate in the National Infectious Disease Diagnostic Reagent and Vaccine Engineering Technology Research Center Lab of Xiamen University: "After finishing this recombinant proteins,each of them has to be purified.After purification, we got these ingredients.which can't be used in the kit directly.We have to keep it go through various debugging.In fact, the debugging workload of the kit is so huge that our colleagues are basically spent days and nights,working overtime continuously."
Although everyone in the lab is accustomed to "racing" with the virus, this time, everyone is still speeding up again and again. They used the detection reagents to "identify the enemy" after the COVID-19 virus had invaded the human body, obtaining the precise scientific achievements by making every minute and second count.
Hong Congming, a technician in the National Infectious Disease Diagnostic Reagent and Vaccine Engineering Technology Research Center Lab of Xiamen University: "From the third day of the Chinese Lunar New Year until now. Our work is hard, but I think as a front-line researcher,it is also an incumbent responsibility."
Researchers like Hong Congming are the ultimate performers of scientific research experiments. In their opinions, during this period they "regard a day as 48 hours, but it's still inadequate." Hong Congming's wife was distressed about his eating meal only once a day, so she cooked soup for him and sent it to the lab every day. Regretfully, the soup was usually not opened until early in the morning.
To everyone in the lab, "a sense of accomplishment is greater than a sense of hunger." Thanks to their effort and persistence, after 49 days of scientific research, the Industry-University-Research achievement of Xiamen University---a COVID-19 Antibody kit was finally approved to be listed. On the same day, four COVID-19 Antibody reagents from Xiamen University also obtained approval to CE. So far, more than 20 countries including South Korea, Italy, Germany, and the Philippines have ordered reagents from Xiamen University.
Zhang Jun, Associate Dean in the School of Public Health of Xiamen University: "We hope this tool,in addition to supporting domestic fight against the epidemic,can also support that of other countries.Let's take the responsibility of a national-level research platform."
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