> Davos at Dalian
Molecular firm Qiagen releases rapid H1N1 test
By Zhu Chengpei and Zhang Xiaomin (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-09-12 08:21

China has a hunger for new technologies and ways to improve people's lives, which in turn provides huge incentive to innovation-driven companies, a leader from molecular analysis firm Qiagen said yesterday at the Summer Davos forum in Dalian.

Victor Shi, president of Qiagen Asia, said that Qiagen's business in China has been outpacing the country's GDP growth since it started an operation in Shanghai in 2006.

One of its latest projects has been cooperation in the prevention and control of H1N1 influenza, Shi said, in which Qiagen has worked closely with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention to provide a quick and accurate test.

Shi said China has made great efforts to control the virus after learning from the lessons of SARS in 2003.

But he said more efforts are needed to face the upcoming flu season.

"It is a global pandemic situation now. The strategy turns to how to make effective vaccines available to as many people as possible and how to treat patients," he said.

On Thursday Qiagen launched a new test for H1N1 that Shi said can provide highly accurate results in about 40 minutes, which is faster than most current methods.

The new solution can also detect infections from other known influenza such the A and B strains, which remain likely to disseminate in the population during the upcoming flu season, according to Shi.

He noted Qiagen responded quickly to the H1N1 influenza threat and currently markets a broad portfolio of solutions for monitoring of infections, including a WHO-recommended proprietary technology that can test for Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 strains.

Shi said Qiagen's quick response to the H1N1 influenza emergency is a result of the company's core expertise in molecular diagnostics and past experience in developing tests for SARS and avian flu.

On September 8, Qiagen inaugurated its new Asia headquarters in Shanghai's Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park, an emerging biotechnology hub.

(China Daily 09/12/2009 page15)