COVID-19 test kits from young Chinese scientists are promising
Updated 16:55, 29-Jun-2020
World Insight with Tian Wei 

The COVID-19 pandemic remains the biggest challenge for the science community worldwide. Researchers are working around the clock on diagnoses, treatments and vaccines-developing. Besides, th struggle for most nations is the shortage of test kits.

Speaking of this issue, CGTN host Tian Wei talked to a team of young Chinese scientists who have developed an efficient and accurate self-serving test kit which can produce results within 30 minutes.

Bai Jingwei, an associate professor from School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Tsinghua University, Dr. Li Yinqing and Dr. Liu Peng, are the three great minds behind this promising new invention, and they are close friends who share the same apartment building. During the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, they were eager to do something. When Wuhan was locked down, they knew it's crucial to have accurate and efficient testing.


Gathering in the living room, maintaining social distance, having the windows wide open during the Beijing winter, they were enthusiastic about their ever-clearer plan to develop a simple test for all. Bai's team calls the brand new invention: Box for Instant Nucleic Acid Screening (BINAS) which is very easy to operate.

According to Bai, after loading the sample, there are two amplification processes. First is to introduce the entire sample inside the micro fluid channel to start the first application, and wait for just 10 minutes. 

And second is to push it down. That's a dilution process. When there's another push, that's the start of the second application. Bai said after 10 minutes, people can push it all the way down and get a result.  If it's positive, there will be a red band on the T line.

The total duration of this instant nucleic acid testing only lasts 25 or 30 minutes. It is a breakthrough.


When it comes to the accuracy rate, Bai said they tested some stand-up samples; the accuracy is as good as the QPCR people have right now. So far, this is perhaps the only device that actually doesn't require any other instruments or preparation, because the team integrate everything inside one box.

Then can contamination, which happened to some test kits and caused series of problems, be avoided? 

Some say the contamination of test kits is a huge problem. "If you do it by yourself, there's no such thing of contaminating other samples," Bai continued, "because in our case, you directly input the sample taken from your mouth, and then put it inside this box. After that, this box is fully sealed. This is actually one-time use, so there won't be the consideration of cross-contamination," he explained.

Bai believes that hopefully the box will be in the hands of consumers in two or three months.

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