(Photo: Global Times)
Amid regional clustered COVID-19 infections and pressure from imported cases, Harbin in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province has constructed the world's first membrane "Fire Eye laboratory" which can examine 10,000 nucleic acid test samples a day.
The Fire Eye Lab was completed on Friday after 7 days of construction. It uses lower energy consumption and is more portable than the previous version.
It will help the province to improve its testing capability to screen close contacts and high-risk groups to find out virus carriers, China Central Television reported.
Fire Eye, or Huoyan in Chinese, comes from Chinese mythology: The Monkey King has a pair of Fire Eyes that can see through devils in disguise.
The membrane lab has six chambers at 1,700 square meters. It has zones for sample collecting, sample storage, testing reagent preparation, sample processing, and a zone for further expansion.
Different function zones are separated from each other, the air in and out of the function zones and hallways is sanitized, and the whole lab area is under negative pressure. Samples, medical waste, and personnel all enter from entirely different routes to minimize exposure risks.
The Harbin lab is equipped with 50 testing machines, including biosafe closets, antibody test machines, nucleic acid extraction, and gene sequencing machines.
More than 30 personnel have been dispatched to conduct tests.
China has so far built more than 10 Huoyan labs in major cities to carry out COVID-19 tests, including in Beijing, Shanghai, and southern China's Shenzhen. The country has also helped built such labs in Serbia and the United Arab Emirates.