Recently, Zhuang Songlin, Academician from University of Shanghai for Science and Technology launched a special project on prevention and control of COVID-19 Pandemic sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The project is titled “Full-Process Flexible Detection Unit and System of Virulent Pathogen Nucleic Acid”，which was approved and has passed the first stage assessment. This national project was chaired by USST.
The current nucleic acid detection procedure generally goes through several steps. Sample collection and processing are mainly completed by front-line medical and disease control personnel. Subsequent sample preparation, nucleic acid extraction, PCR system construction, real-time PCR quantitative steps must be performed manually by the scientists in four quarantine laboratories with the P2 protection level. The procedure greatly increases the workload of the medics and their infection probability. Meanwhile, the manual performance also increases the uncertainty and the duration of the test.
A full-automatic flexible detection system without manual intervention resolves the conflict between existing nucleic acid detection equipment and the need for full-automatic and rapid detection. After the project was established, Academician Zhuang Songlin organized several online conferences with leading members of the project, drafted specific clinical requirements and finished the design for severe pathogenic nucleic acid detection workstations, protective sealed cabins, and automatic nucleic acid extraction units during a short period of time. Some instruments and units Modules, such as 96-well RT-qPCR real-time fluorescence quantitative detectors, have completed the CAD drawings and are under manufacturing. The project has recently passed the stage assessment.
This is the first novel coronavirus pandemic prevention and control national project undertaken by USST. The approval and implementation of the project indicates that innovation initiative adopted by USST has strengthened its ability to meet national needs and serve national strategies.