A Letter to Foreign Experts and Friends from Guangdong

With the concern and support from friends all over the world, the COVID-19 containing in China shows a positive trend. The Chinese people fight against the epidemic in a united and scientific way. A number of provinces and cities witness continuous zero-increase of newly confirmed cases. On the premise of ensuring epidemic prevention and control, the Chinese government helps enterprises and institutions to resume production and operation. Every effort is made to minimize the negative impact on economic development and boost confidence in prosperity and stability of the world’s economy.


In this battle, our scientific and technological practitioners work hard at the forefront of related research projects. Some amazing achievements have exerted active effects in the epidemic prevention and control. The Chinese government from the start acts in an open, transparent and honest manner, and shares information and research progress with World Health Organization (WHO) and the international community. We make all efforts to prevent the epidemic from spreading. Here, I would like to introduce some successful practices in Guangdong province, where I live and work. They are proved to be effective in epidemic control and medical treatment. We are happy to share with you all for exchange and cooperation and provide related services if needed.


First, trial of AI-aided COVID-19 Diagnostic System. Imageological examination plays an important role in the diagnosis of novel coronavirus pneumonia. The epidemic is a newly emerging disease featured with rapid deterioration. CT scans are repeatedly used to confirm cases, monitor disease progression and evaluate therapeutic effect. However, it is hard for doctors to make quick comparison and lesion change recognition only through visual examination.


Based on about 500,000 clinical images, Guangzhou Regenerative Medicine and Health Guangdong Laboratory and Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital affiliated with Sun Yat-Sen University work together to develop the AI-aided COVID-19 Diagnostic System. Featured with chest-CT and X-ray imageology, the System can differentiate COVID-19 patients from non-COVID-19 patients efficiently and specifically (including patients of other viral pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia or other patients with fever). It can complete the detection of one CT scan in 20 seconds with the diagnostic accuracy of 90%. In China, it has been deployed in many provinces and cities to aid the diagnosis through cloud platform. If needed, please check the website http://ncov-ai.big.ac.cn/ and register for the trial of the AI-aided diagnostic system. Contact for registration and technical support can be found in the User’s Manual on the homepage.


Second, Cloud Brain supporting anti-epidemic research. Peng Cheng Cloud Brain under Peng Cheng Laboratory is the first open source platform in China based on artificial intelligence with the AI computing power of 100 PFLOPS @ FP16. During the epidemic, the public research institutions, universities and hospitals involved in coronavirus-related gene sequencing, protein screening, vaccine and drug R&D are welcome to contact Peng Cheng Laboratory ( anti-2019-nCoV@pcl.ac.cn ) and submit scheme description of research direction and expected outcomes. Peng Cheng Laboratory will give a reply as soon as possible. The professional evaluation panel will provide a scheme evaluation accordingly and the approved proposals will be supported by free AI computing power. We welcome researchers worldwide to work together to fight against coronavirus. The computing power support of Peng Cheng Cloud Brain Platform has so far promoted the development progresses in terms of virus transmission prediction, drug screening, vaccine R&D, early clinical diagnosis, etc. Moreover, pilot application of related virus transmission prediction models has been carried out. With the assistance of the computing power, drug screening results show that some existed drugs have positive in vitro anti-viral effect upon COVID-19 virus. It accelerates the process of clinical trials.


Third, the detecting products for COVID-19. Real-Time Fluorescent RT-PCR Kit for Detecting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus developed by BGI Group Co., Ltd. has been applied in more than 20 countries worldwide. BGI is capable of producing 200,000 PCR test reagents, 10,000 sequencing test reagents and 500,000 antibody test reagents on a daily basis. With 14 Huo-Yan Laboratories to do the emergency detecting, the nucleic acid/antibody test of BGI is up to 50,000 reagents per day (Email: info@bgi.com , Contact: Yunping Zheng, Mobile: +86 13600002151).


The COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Detection Kit (PCR-fluorescence method), developed by DAAN Gene Co., Ltd. of Sun Yat-Sen University, is among the first batch of COVID-19 detection products registered and approved in China. The accumulated output is almost 5 million reagents, which have been used extensively to detect the novel coronavirus (Email: alice@daangene.net , Contact: Yongmei Jin, Mobile: +86 18620055688).


The COVID-19 Antibody Detection Kit (Lateral Flow Method), developed by Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech Co., Ltd., is the first antibody detection reagent approved in China which is capable of detecting novel coronavirus antibody in human serum, plasma, and whole blood. There are also 3 Wanfo antibody detection kits granted the CE certification in Europe, i.e. Wondfo SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test (Lateral Flow Method), Finecare SARS-CoV-2 IgM Test, Finecare SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test (Email: pm@wondfo.com.cn , Contact: Fei Chen, Mobile: +86 13632361458).


Fourth, new equipment for hospital infection prevention. Focusing on the prevention and control of COVID-19, Guangzhou Angel Biosafety Science and Technology Co., Ltd. (member of the industry-university-research team of Dr. Nanshan Zhong) puts forward the innovative R&D concept of “solo quarantine, immediate sterilization”. With this concept, a series of products used for quarantine, prevention and control are developed, including the hospital beds for negative pressure quarantine/open quarantine/children quarantine, the medical isolation diagnosis table, the isolation purification chair, etc. These products have been applied at places with higher risk of respiratory infections, including airports, customs and fever clinics, pneumology/infectious departments, waiting halls, infusion halls, isolation areas of the medical institutions, e.g. Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital, the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Hainan Hospital of PLA General Hospital. The application performance of these equipment are significant in the epidemic prevention and control, and are highly recognized and praised by the users. The feature of the products is to collect and process the expired gas instantly and constantly from the individual of confirmed cases which could carry pathogen. It can efficiently eliminate and control the possibility of person-to-person transmission between patients and susceptible population. In this way, it helps to block the spread of respiratory infectious diseases and reduce the incidence of infection. Medical institutions around the world are welcome to contact the company (CLG86@163.com ) to co-build the defense line to prevent local respiratory infection. Manufacturers are also welcome to join the equipment production.


Fifth, the washable protective masks for civil use. Advanced Energy Science and Technology Guangdong Laboratory develops a kind of washable protective masks for civil use based on the heavy ion technology. Such mask is made of the washable heavy ion microporous membrane material instead of the melt-blown fabric which is in short supply during the epidemic. The air could go through the tiny holes on the microporous membrane material and the aerosol and bacteria will be blocked with no need to spray any other chemical reagents. Tested by the authority institute, PFE of such mask can reach 76.6%, considerably higher than the 30% standard of medical surgical mask. The Laboratory is open to the researchers, enterprises and organizations worldwide to improve the performance of the product. Purchase orders from other countries are welcome. For details, please contact the Laboratory (modan@impcas.ac.cn ).


Sixth, drugs for clinical trials. Chloroquine phosphate (chloroquine) has a wide range of antiviral effects, including anti-coronavirus. Results of clinical research show that treating the patients diagnosed as novel coronavirus pneumonia with chloroquine might improve the success rate of treatment, shorten hospital stay and improve patient outcome.According to the statistics, 120 patients were enrolled in the chloroquine treatment group in the clinical trial research in Guangdong, of which 9 mild cases, 107 ordinary cases, 4 severe cases; the patients were tested negative after drug treatment for 4.4 days on average with none of them developed into critical case, and 81 cases were discharged from hospital. So far, there is no serious adverse reaction observed in the medication. The drug (chloroquine) is included in the Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Pneumonia Caused by COVID-19 (Trial Edition 6) issued by the National Health Commission and the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People’s Republic of China (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/yzygj/s7653p/202002/8334a8326dd94d329df351d7da8aefc2.shtml ) and the Experts Consensus on Rational Clinical Drug Use in Guangdong for Treatment of Pneumonia Caused by COVID-19 issued by Guangdong Pharmacy Administration & Quality Control Center on 29th, February, 2020. Any inquiry of chloroquine, please contact Prof. Shanping Jiang (shanpingjiang@126.com).


At present, the epidemic in China is effectively contained. However, it shows a rapid increase around the world. The number of confirmed cases is climbing in many countries and regions. The epidemic becomes more and more severe. Truly empathizing with the people facing the epidemic in other countries, we stand ready to share our experiences and scientific achievements, deepen the international S&T cooperation, and offer as much assistance as we can. Let’s form a strong concerted force to beat the disease.


There is a Chinese saying,“The going is difficult when doing it alone; the going becomes easier when doing it with many others.” The novel coronavirus epidemic gives the international community a profound inspiration that humanity should be seen as one community with a shared future. Let’s look out for one another, and join hands to tackle the risks and challenges. The victory over the pandemic will surely come out in the near future.


Wish you happiness and good health!


Dr. Ruijun Wang

Director General of Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province, P.R.C

Vice-Chairman of the 22nd Session, UNCSTD


9th March, 2020


(Source: Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province)