The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The response to the COVID-19 outbreak of various institutions worldwide has been outright and overwhelming. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is one such institution that has made extensive efforts to address the challenges brought about by the global pandemic.

Develops a comprehensive rapid, automated multiplex diagnostic system

In February 2020, PolyU announced its successful development of a multiplex diagnostic system capable of detecting up to 40 infectious respiratory pathogens, including the novel coronavirus. On the basis of polymerase chain reaction technology, the automated system performs sample nucleic acid extraction and amplification, as well as signal detection and analysis. Through patent-pending microfluidic and biochemical technologies, the developed system can achieve ultra-sensitive detection and enables the simultaneous differentiation of various pathogens. With these advantages, the system can yield identification results in a single test and within one hour.

Designs a new 3D-printed face shield

To address the pressing need for personal protective equipment in the healthcare industry, PolyU developed new 3D-printed face shields and eye shields for the Hospital Authority and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The design and initial production work were completed in only 10 days at PolyU. This effort entails the use of the 3D printers of the University Research Facility in 3D Printing and other departments of PolyU. With the support from local manufacturing industry, production lines are now set up in Hong Kong to produce face shields. The steady supply resolves the critical demand for face shields in Hong Kong hospitals.

Designs ‘General Use Face Shields’

To provide enhanced protection for the public in their daily lives and working environment, PolyU has further introduced the ‘General Use Face Shield’ and the ‘Extra Protection Face Shield’. The General Use Face Shield covers one’s entire face, whereas the Extra Protection Face Shield offers relatively broad coverage as it also covers the forehead and hair. The face shields are made of lightweight and environmentally friendly PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastic material, utilising the vacuum forming technique. The new design does not fog up easily and provide a comfortable wearing experience for frontline staff and/or people working outdoors.

PolyU students provide anti-epidemic packages and hygienic tips

The students of PolyU have also stepped up by reaching out to the underprivileged. Teaming up with the Christian Concern for the Homeless Association (CCHA), five PolyU students initiated a project aimed at providing much-needed masks to those who could not afford them. They prepared 150 anti-epidemic packs, each of which contained 10 masks, a bottle of self-made hand sanitiser and a packet of tissues. An additional 803 masks were sent directly to the CCHA. The team also filmed two videos that discussed how to make DIY hand sanitisers and maintain hygiene in crowded places, such as homeless shelters.

Researchers use mathematical models to help the fight against COVID-19

Following PolyU’s pioneering spirit, associate professors Dr He Dai-hai and Dr Lou Yi-jun from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Dr Yang Lin from the School of Nursing, in partnership with their collaborators from mainland China, became one of the first researchers in the world to make valuable estimations related to COVID-19. The research teams were able to estimate the transmission rate, case fatality rate and gender disparity of COVID-19. Their findings offer critical support for decision making toward the mitigation of the effects of the outbreak.

More about PolyU’s work on COVID-19:

Responses from other USRN Members

You may learn more about what the other USRN member universities have done in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.