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Asia Minute: Regional Research and Development Continues on COVID-19

Ashley Mizuo/HPR

Attention is increasingly shifting to the cautious and limited re-opening of some areas around the world. And there’s great interest on research and development that can help with that goal. A lot of that work is being done in the Asia Pacific.

From South Korea, an idea to speed up testing for COVID-19: a pressurized testing booth about eight feet high.

A patient enters while the person conducting the test stays outside, behind a Plexiglas wall that’s outfitted with a pair of heavy disposable gloves that reach into the booth and are used to conduct the test. The person outside does not need the layers of personal protective equipment usually required.

The mobile booths have been used in South Korea, and they’ve now been sent to countries from Malaysia and Thailand to Italy and Japan.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology say they’ve come up with an anti-viral coating that can provide “significant” protection against the coronavirus for up to 90 days. It’s a spray coating that can go on handrails, elevator buttons and other areas frequently touched by the public.

Reuters reports the team had been working on this for ten years to guard against other viruses and bacteria — and the coating has gone through clinical trials at a Hong Kong hospital and an assisted living facility.

As for the testing booth, Dr. Ahn Yeo-hyun was modest in describing her design to the Korea Herald, saying, “I imagine this must be a situation faced by healthcare workers everywhere — challenged to think outside the box to cope with extraordinary times.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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