(Yicai Global) Jan. 15 -- Two Chinese biotech companies have succeeded in creating an analysis kit that can identify the novel coronavirus that surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December.
BGI Genomics and Jiangsu Bioperfectus Technologies developed a reagent cartridge that identifies cases of the new type of virus, the companies said in separate statements. They will supply the kits to disease control authorities and medical institutions for early-stage diagnosis to avert infection on a larger scale.
The first death from the new coronavirus was reported by health authorities on Jan. 11. What started off as a mystery pneumonia outbreak at a market in Wuhan, the capital of central Hubei province, initially raised fears of a reprise of the severe acute respiratory syndrome pandemic that raged in the country from 2002 to 2003.
Shortly after the first Wuhan pneumonia were reported, Shenzhen-based BGI Genomics quickly deployed staffers working on scientific research and relevant production to develop the reagent kit which is used in nucleic acid detections targeting the new type of coronavirus, it said.
Bioperfectus has finished developing the reagent cartridge for nucleic acid examination, which seeks out the novel coronavirus, and that of such box used in general nucleic acid tests for coronaviruses, the Jiangsu province-based firm said, adding that the products will only be used for detection not treatment. Sales of the new kit will depend on the prevention and control of this epidemic.
Shares of Bioperfectus [SHA:688399] fell 0.4 percent today to close at CNY62.84 (USD9.13) each, after skyrocketing nearly 10 percent in trading yesterday afternoon. BGI Genomics [SHE:300676] gained 2.4 percent to CNY69.76.
Healthcare institutions in Wuhan received patients infected with the mysterious pneumonia starting last month. After carrying out gene sequencing, the authorities identified the cause as a never-before-seen type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are common and cause infections of the nose, sinuses or throat. Most are not dangerous, but some are deadly like SARS. The name corona, or 'crown,' describes their circular structure with its radiating filaments.
Wuhan has so far reported 41 cases of people diagnosed with pneumonia symptoms associated with the new coronavirus, seven of whom have recovered and left hospital, while six are still undergoing treatment and others are in stable condition. All patients have submitted to isolation treatment in Wuhan's medical agencies.
The fact that this outbreak is also linked to a wholesale meat and seafood market and emerged at roughly the same time of year as SARS previously raised the specter of another animal-to-human transmission of a SARS-style illness.
SARS is a viral respiratory disease of zoonotic origin caused by the SARS coronavirus. Between November 2002 and July 2003, an eruption of SARS in South China produced eventual 8,098 cases, resulting in 774 deaths in 37 countries. Most instances occurred in China and Hong Kong. The virus had an almost one-tenth fatality rate, according to the World Health Organization.
No new cases of SARS have been reported worldwide since 2004. Chinese scientists traced the virus through the vector of civet cats sold for meat in a Guangzhou market to cave-dwelling bats in Yunnan province in late 2017.
BGI Genomics supplies research and testing services such as deoxyribonucleic acid sequencing, food science, health care research, cancer prevention, drug discovery, and DNA sequencing to medical and scientific research institutions worldwide, according to Bloomberg. Bioperfectus is a biotech firm that develops and markets influenza virus kits, rapid test kits, salmonella and shigella real-time kits throughout China.
Editor: Ben Armour