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New reagent can detect SARS virus
( 2003-11-13 22:03) (China Daily)

A kind of reagent for testing for the presence of 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 the "SARS virus fluorescence quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic kit," the reagent was developed by the Daan Gene Company Ltd, attached to Zhongshan University, in Guangzhou, the capital of South China's Guangdong Province.

Developers said a patient is required to keep 5 millilitres of specially made physiological saline solution in the mouth for three to five seconds before discharging the liquid into a special utensil.

Technical workers at the disease control centre will carry out tests on the saline solution in a special lab and the final results of the test will emerge in two to three hours.

A centre for medical bio-engineering technology research under the Ministry of Health, the Daan Gene Company was entrusted with the task of developing a technology for quick detection of the SARS virus on April 12 this year, when many Chinese provinces and cities were hit by SARS.

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

Clinical testing in the three disease control centres in Guangdong Province, the city of Guangzhou and Beijing between April 19-28 this year confirmed that using this reagent, the SARS virus could be detected in the mouth-rinse solution discharged by a patient on the 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 per cent in a single test to detect the presence of the SARS virus. The success rate rose to 86.2 per cent in another experiment in which it was applied to 87 people who had already been confirmed antibody-positive through serological testing.

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

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

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