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Respiratory Lab Invites Partners
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A new research laboratory that focuses on respiratory diseases is inviting domestic and overseas scientists to do joint research projects.

Ran Pixin, president of the Guangzhou Medical College, said: "All international research projects of respiratory diseases can be carried out here."

He said the goal was to "make breakthroughs in treating and preventing epidemic outbreaks".

The State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Diseases, was approved early this month by the Ministry of Science and Technology. It will be based on an existing research facility co-sponsored in 2005 by the Biomedicine and Health Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases (GIRD).

The GIRD, which is affiliated with Ran's college, completed a series of research projects in recent years on flu, bird flu, lung cancer and asthma.

"We wish to build the new lab into an international co-operative research platform for respiratory diseases. And so far, we have reached agreements with overseas institutes from the UK, Denmark, Netherlands and the United States, for a series of key projects," Ran told China Daily.

Currently, Ran's college is working with the Beijing-based Aviation Medical Research Institute on a bird flu project.

"The SARS and bird flu outbreaks in recent years have triggered panic and caused huge economic losses across the country. It is therefore very important for scientists to join hands to boost research capacities and develop more effective diagnostic devices, medication and vaccines," Ran said.

Zhong Nanshan, an expert in SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and president of the Chinese Medical Association, said that the lab will attach great importance to a combination of research results and clinic uses.

"All problems we encounter in clinic operations will be brought back to the lab for further research, and successful research results will be put into use in clinic operations," Zhong was quoted as saying by the Xinhua News Agency.

The new lab, which will be expanded to 7,600 square meters from the current 4,600 square meters, will also have the country's largest ward for respiratory disease sufferers, accommodating more than 300 in-patient sickbeds, according to Zhong.

Zhong said that the infectious disease outbreaks in China in recent years were characterized by respiratory symptoms such as SARS and bird flu.

"Guangdong has reported a higher rate of respiratory diseases in recent years. And the lab will carry out advanced research and develop new drugs and vaccines," said Zhong, who earned his reputation through efforts to curb the SARS virus in 2003.

(China Daily April 19, 2007)

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