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Hepatitis-detection Biochip Developed
China's progress in treating hepatitis has been chosen as one of the top 10 China medical technology news items of last year in a list released by the Ministry of Health and the State Drug Administration.

Chinese scientists developed a biochip to quickly detect the virus that causes hepatitis C.

The liver illness has infected about 40 million Chinese, mainly through contaminated blood.

The silica-origin protein chip detects the hepatitis C virus in blood samples more efficiently and accurately than the current method of ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay), according to the People's Daily website, which quoted Wang Shengqi as saying.

Wang led a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Military Medicine.

On October 16, the State Drug Administration gave the detection kit for hepatitis C antibodies approval to enter the market.

Insiders at a Beijing-based national biochip engineering centre, said the significance of the product goes far beyond just controlling hepatitis C, since the country is determined to give the whole biochip industry a boost.

About 40 million people in China, or around 3.2 per cent of its population, have hepatitis C, reported the Shenzhen-based Yishengtang Biological Products Co Ltd, the company that developed the biochip.

China has also reported a high rate of hepatitis B. Around 10 per cent of its nearly 1.3 billion people are infected by the virus. About 25 per cent of those infected are likely to develop chronic hepatitis B.

(China Daily January 3, 2003)

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