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NCKU to set up COVID-19 Innovation Center

April 20, 2020


To meet the global challenge of COVID-19, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) plans to establish an innovation center to support research and development activities that address medical and socio-economic challenges in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and foster collaboration between academic researchers and public, not for profit and industry partners. Research topics include diagnostics, vaccine, antiviral drugs, case tracking, as well as other technologies and tools in relation to the COVID-19. As so many of the world’s researchers focused so urgently on this topic, NCKU professors actively engaged with domestic and international partners, and will continue to bring their expertise and experiences to the global scientific community to help find potential solutions. 
To address the medical challenges, a group of physicians and research scientists in biochemistry and immunology from NCKU work closely to develop screening test, vaccine, and antiviral drug. The interdisciplinary group is developing rapid screening kits targeting the antigens or antibodies of the coronavirus. The testing kits under development could return results much faster than the current standard testing, which relies on a time-consuming laboratory process involving the extraction and amplification of nucleic acid from the coronavirus. This NCKU team also aims to develop vaccine to arm the population against new waves of infection, as well as antibody drugs for the treatment. 
The other focus of this innovation center will be the application of IoT and AI technology in COVID-19 pandemic. Ongoing research projects in NCKU include AI analyzing chest X-ray image, chatbot in medical frontline, smart stethoscope, intubation device with 3D navigation system, protective suit and smart device for quarantine, automatic disinfection system, and etc. With the interdisciplinary collaboration between technology and medicine, we aim to monitor the real-time status of patients, transfer data to server through IoT network, analyze the information with big data and AI tools, and finally provide guidance to assist medical decision making of COVID-19. 
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