Government-led task force to better coordinate resources in battle against virus
By: Huang Tzu-ti, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The government-sponsored National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) has established a “national team” for facilitated development of vaccines and treatments in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sytwu Huey-kang (司徒惠康), vice president of NHRI and a key figure in Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), noted in a news briefing Friday (April 24) that the task force was put together around a month ago. Many companies have applied to join the group, which coordinates resources and expertise from the public and private sectors, wrote UDN.
According to Sytwu, a major role of the platform is to incorporate P3 laboratories across the country, including institutes affiliated with NHRI, Academia Sinica, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, and National Cheng Kung University. These labs are defined as biosafety level 3 facilities, which carry out experiments with microbes able to cause lethal disease via inhalation.
The task force has also put in place a database for biological samples used for COVID-19 related research. Given biosafety concerns associated with handling nasal and throat swabs, the database primarily collects blood samples, with 74 samples available now. [FULL STORY]