The research and development team from Chang Gung University (CGU)/Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH) in collaboration with Academia Sinica, National Health Research Institutes (NHRI), National Defense Medical Center and University of Washington at Seattle, has been devoting tremendous efforts on the developments of diagnostic methods, therapeutic antibodies and antivirals to fight COVID-19.
Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections (RCEVI, the Featured Areas Research Program supported by Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan) at CGU and Clinical Virology Laboratory at CGMH have established laboratory diagnostic methods shortly after SARS-CoV-2 sequence being revealed. The team has successfully isolated the virus from six patients and shared the virus isolates to other research institutes under the biosafety guideline from Taiwan CDC. Moreover, clinical physician scientists at CGMH have obtained the plasmablast-derived monoclonal antibodies from one of the COVID-19-infected patient. With the materials, virus isolates and antibodies, the CGU/CGMH team has actively pursuing solutions to cure COVID-19. The monoclonal antibodies will not only be used for therapy but also in rapid diagnosis in point of care (POC) or in hospital laboratories. The virus isolates have been used for in vitro antiviral assays and several potent and promising compounds and antibodies have been identified.
Professor Shin-Ru Shih, Director of RCEVI, went to University of Washington (Seattle) in 2018 and signed an MOU with Professor Michael Gale, Director of Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease (CIIID) and intensive mutual visits and collaborations keep going since then. Recently, with the extension, RCEVI at CGU joined an international team led by Dr. Wesley Van Voorhis (Director, Research Center for Emerging and re-emerging Infectious Diseases, CERID) to work together on COVID-19 (under the grant funded by NIH). This international team, including scientists from US, UK, Brazil and South Africa, has established a research infrastructure in sharing research materials, technologies and information.