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Reagent for Testing SARS Virus in Trial Production

A kind of reagent for testing the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus, which was independently developed by a Chinese gene company, has gone into trial production with the approval of the State Food and Drug Administration.

Named "SARS virus fluorescence quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic kit", the reagent was developed by the Daan Gene Co., Ltd. attached to Zhongshan University, based in Guangzhou, capital city of south China's Guangdong Province.

Developers said that a person is required to keep five milliliters of specially-made physiological saline solution in the mouth for three to five seconds before he or she discharges the liquid into a kind of special utensil.

Technical workers at the disease control center will carry out tests on the sample water in a special lab and the final result of the test is expected to come out in two to three hours.

As the center for medical bio-engineering technological research under the Ministry of Health, the Daan Gene Co., Ltd. was entrusted to develop technology for fast testing the SARS virus on April 12 this year, when many Chinese provinces and cities were hit by the SARS disease.

The company has provided a total of 64,000 diagnostic kits for anti-SARS research and clinical use since April.

Clinical testing by the three disease control centers of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou City and Beijing between April 19-28showed that by using this kind of reagent, the SARS virus could be tested in the mouth-rinsing water discharged by a person on the first day he or she developed SARS symptoms.

In clinical testing of people who had SARS symptoms for no more than 10 days, the reagent has a success rate of 71.8 percent in a single test to detect the presence of the SARS virus. The success rate rose to 86.2 percent in another experiment in which it was applied to 87 people who had already been confirmed antibody-positive through a serological testing.

Cheng Gang, a chief technician with Daan, said that these research results have shown that the reagent can help test the SARS virus at an earlier stage.

It was learned that the Daan company has prepared 30,000 PCR diagnostic kits.

(Xinhua News Agency November 13, 2003)

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