May 12, 2020
With COVID-19 spreading globally, governments and medical experts from all over the world are gearing up to accelerate research and development to fight the highly infectious disease. Taiwan, with advanced biotechnology and precision machinery capabilities, has assembled a testing system alliance to produce all-in-one epidemic testing machines.
Screening out infected patients as early as possible is an important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The highest amount of virus in a patient is generally found in the first five to seven days of infection. Some may show clear symptoms while some many only display mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Currently there are two kinds of tests available for COVID-19: one is a viral test and the other is an anti-body test. A viral test tells if a patient is currently infected, which checks samples from individual’s respiratory system. Fast screening tests can yield results in less than an hour, but has less accuracy. Other tests like RT-PCR, must be sent to a laboratory for further analysis, and the testing process is more complicated, and usually takes more hours, but has the highest accuracy rate.
While the world relies heavily on the RT-PCR test mechanism, the biggest challenge for such approach is that most nations do the test manually in a lab, which is labor intensive and time consuming. Some countries might not have enough testing systems for fast and accurate results. In fact, most testing systems available are usually very large in size and costly to acquire.
To overcome these challenges, the Industrial Technology Research Institute has teamed up with companies from various fields including biomedical R&D, PCB assembly, wire rods & cables, precision machinery, as well as intelligent manufacturing systems, to design and produce an all-in-one automated RT-PCR COVID-19 testing system.
This alliance for the COVID-19 automated testing system represents an anti-pandemic supply chain with companies known for their innovation, design, and manufacturing capabilities.
The automated testing system developed by the alliance is not only compact in size, more affordable and efficient, but also less labor intensive and produces fewer errors. The alliance aims to mass produce the testing system by the end of May 2020.
According to market reports, the global market for medical machinery will reach US$4,475 billion in 2020, with In-Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) market accounting for 13%.