When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), using its advantage of multidisciplinary innovation, immediately launched its pandemic emergency response and prevention research project.

It produced a number of important innovations that have been applied to front-line pandemic prevention and control.

CAS was among the first in the world to detect the gene of the virus and to isolate the novel coronavirus strain. It submitted the gene sequence of the virus to the World Health Organization. These efforts helped global scientific community to identify the pathogen that causes COVID-19 and trace the origin of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The academy’s researchers found the molecular mechanism by which the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters cells, which provided a theoretical guidance for developing new targeted therapy for the disease.

Six COVID-19 detection products co-developed by CAS and other parties have been approved by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), and 15 products have gained CE certification, a safety requirement for entering the European Union market.

CAS, together with other parties, has developed China’s first recombinant protein vaccine approved for clinical trials and the world’s first inactivated vaccine approved for phase-III clinical trials.

It has also developed a neutralizing antibody that has been undergoing synchronous phase-I clinical trials in China and the US and has been approved to begin clinical trials by the NMPA and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Meanwhile, the academy has made progress in developing new types of vaccines, such as the adenovirus vector vaccine, the mRNA vaccine, the fusion protein vaccine, the adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector vaccine, and the VSV-vectored vaccine.

CAS researchers found that Tocilizumab and Tanreqing (TRQ) injections are effective in treating COVID-19 patients. These two drugs have been included in the Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for COVID-19.

CAStem injection, which was independently developed by the academy, was also included among the several drugs and herbal formulas approved to treat COVID-19 patients.

In addition, CAS has made important progress in developing diagnostic equipment and a virus information database, and has offered psychological assistance and increased international cooperation in anti-pandemic science and technology.

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

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