2020 is coming to an end, but the COVID-19 pandemic situation has not eased. As to date, global infections have exceeded 78 million with over 1.73 million deaths. In view of the necessity of having test kits that could produce results within a shorter time frame in order to better control the spread of the pandemic, a COVID-19 antibody rapid test kit has been successfully developed through collaborative efforts by Tzu Chi University and two other parties. With the support of Tzu Chi Foundation, these test kits were shipped to Indonesia, Honduras and Bolivia, exemplifying the soft power of "Taiwan TCU can help!".
Antibody Rapid Test Kits as Strong Defence against virus transmission
In December, 40,000 of the COVID-19 antibody rapid test kits arrived before Christmas in Bolivia. Situated 19,000 kilometres away in South America, Bolivia is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 150,000 infections and 9,000 deaths. There is much hope that the 40,000 COVID-19 antibody rapid test kits would be a great Christmas Eve gift and be of significant help to Bolivia's fight against the pandemic.
The mayor of Santa Cruz was incredibly grateful for Taiwan Tzu Chi Foundation for the help. To express his appreciation, a press conference was held where he iterated his plan to utilise the test kits for screenings in heavily populated areas, aiming to better control the spread of the Coronavirus in Bolivia.
Approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare for Epidemic Prevention, the COVID-19 IgG/IgM antibody rapid test was jointly developed by Tzu Chi University, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital and Academia Sinica, and was commissioned to Trison Technology Integration Corporation for production. After receiving approval for import, 30,000 test kits were shipped to Indonesia at the end of September, Honduras in November and then recently to Bolivia. The rapid test kits are also expected to be shipped to Dominican Republic soon.
In the spirit of Tzu Chi University’s founding philosophy and the altruistic intention of conducting the R&D, Ingrid Y. Liu, President of Tzu Chi University hopes to send the test kits to countries where medical resources and testing capacity are scarce. With full support of Tzu Chi Foundation, the donation of rapid test kits will be helpful to the international communities in battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Tzu Chi University undergraduates had also participated in the research and development of this antibody rapid test, of which, President Liu is grateful for this opportunity as it had enabled teachers and students to apply what they have learned in school to benefit the society.