Hong Kong, 11 February 2020 –The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (“PolyU”) announces today the development of the world’s most comprehensive automated multiplex diagnostic system (“The System”), a fully automated machine and a multiplex full-screening panel for the point-of-care genetic testing (“POCT”) of respiratory infectious disease including the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Co-developed by Emerging Viral Diagnostics (“EVDL”), a subsidiary of Avalon BioMedical Management (“Avalon Group”), PolyU and the University of Hong Kong (“HKU”), the all-in-one diagnostic system can detect up to 40 pathogens in around an hour with a single test.
Hong Kong is frequently posed with pandemic threats from a wide variety of severe respiratory syndromes throughout history, like the notorious H2N2 Asian Flu in 1957 and H3N2 Hong Kong Flu in 1968, with the both caused millions of deaths. As time goes, the city has been hit constantly by new and contagious viral pathogens, including but not limited to Avian Influenza subtype H5N1 in 1997, SARS in 2003, pandemic H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009, H7N9 in 2013, MERS-CoV and the recent COVID-19. All of these caused thousands of people being hospitalized and hundreds of deaths, posing tremendous impact and pressure on the clinical and public healthcare system. Although considerable effort has been made all these years to transform the public health ecosystem and facilities, existing solutions are either relying heavily on technology from overseas, or relatively pricey. The lack of a widely adoptable full panel POCT technology for early, onsite and rapid diagnosis has long been an unmet medical need. Being a forward-thinking company, Avalon Group started related research with PolyU and HKU since 2015 and envisages a true breakthrough with a novel technology.
“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, Co-Founder and Chairman of Avalon Biomedical Management, Executive & Trust Committee member of Macau Henry Fok Foundation and Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology.
“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,” said Professor Terence Lau, Director of PolyU Innovation and Technology Department.
Clinical evaluation in Queen Mary Hospital (QMH) has begun since 2017 on different pathogens, yet the System has also proven its capability to detect clinical samples of COVID-19. This marked a key milestone and demonstrated high adaptability of the technology. EVDL will continue to work closely with PolyU on the System’s optimization and push forward the mass-scale production plan.
For more information, please refer to PolyU’s press release:
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About Emerging Viral Diagnostics
Emerging Viral Diagnostics (“EVDL”) is formed by a group of experienced scientists, biochemists and engineers having the same vision in giving solutions to unmet medical needs. With a unique integration of the expertise of our multidisciplinary professionals, we are able to transfer our knowledge to innovative yet practical diagnostic solutions to the community. As part of the Avalon Group, a Hong Kong homegrown biomedical group founded in 2013, we aspire to become a worldwide leader in public health infrastructure and protection.