HKUMed News (Vol 26 | Issue 2)

FEATURE Our ‘Firsts’ on COVID-19 HKUMed has been at the forefront producing research to alert the world to the nature of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the pandemic it has induced. Our first findings were reported in the first month of the outbreak, January 2020, and our work on all aspects of COVID-19 has continued apace. Some of the groundbreaking highlights include: • Developed one of the first protocols for detecting COVID-19 in suspected human cases which was shared on the WHO website. Reagents and methods were shared with over 70 countries. • Reported the first evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus involving a family case diagnosed and managed at HKU-Shenzhen Hospital. • Produced two studies through the WHO Collaboration Centre alerting the world to the pandemic, its transmission dynamics and the threat it posed, based on the pattern of case arisings in the first half of January 2020. • Produced some of the first electron microscope images of the SARS-CoV-19 in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering. • Showed that China's aggressive control measures halted the first wave of COVID-19 in provinces outside Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, and developed a model showing the potential adverse consequences of prematurely relaxing interventions, including a subsequent wave of COVID-19. • Worked with the Department of Civil Engineering in developing a method to detect SARS-CoV-2 in sewage, which has helped to identify areas in the city with hidden carriers. • Developed the first nasal spray COVID-19 vaccine to enter a human clinical trial. The vaccine won the Gold Medal with Congratulations of the Jury at the Special Edition 2021 Inventions Geneva Evaluation Days. 有關應對2019冠狀病毒病的「第一名」 港大醫學院一直穩踞醫學研究的最前端,向全球預警SARS-CoV-2病毒的性 質及其引發的大流行。我們的首項發現率先在 2020 年 1 月,即疫情爆發的 首個月發布。同時,研究團隊有關2019冠狀病毒病的各方面工作仍在繼續 全速進行。其中具突破意義的重點包括: • 制定了在疑似人類感染病例中檢測 2019冠狀病毒病的首批機制之一,並 於世界衞生組織網站上發布,亦已與 70 多個國家分享檢測試劑和方法。 • 發布首宗證明病毒在人與人之間傳播的證據,該病例涉及一個家庭,由港 大深圳醫院診治和管理。 • 根據2020年1月上半月出現的病例模式,通過世衞協作中心進行了兩項研 究,向全球預警病毒大流行、傳播動態及所構成的威脅。 • 與港大工程學院攜手製作了SARS-CoV-19病毒的首批電子顯微鏡圖像。 • 表明中國積極防控疫情的措施,阻止了2019冠狀病毒病初發地點湖北省以 外的省份爆發第一波疫情;並開發了預測模型,展示過早放寬防控措施的 潛在風險,包括可能引發下一波疫情。 • 與港大土木工程系合作開發了一種檢測污水中SARS-CoV-2病毒的方法, 有助識別城市中隱性帶菌者所在的區域。 • 開發出首個進入人體臨床試驗階段的2019冠狀病毒病噴鼻式噴霧疫苗。該 疫苗在 「2021年日內瓦國際發明展」榮獲「評判特別嘉許金獎」。 Our Other ‘Firsts’ • Collaborated with Department of Mechanical Engineering to show first direct experimental evidence that seasonal influenza A viruses can be transmitted by both large respiratory droplets as well as fine airborne particles, which evidently informs the development of effective influenza control measures (February 2018). • Led the world’s first comprehensive study of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus in Africa (March 2018). • Invented universal antibody drug for HIV-1 prevention and immunotherapy (April 2018). • Successfully performed Hong Kong’s first non-fusion scoliosis surgery by vertebral body tethering (May 2019). • Discovered novel non-antibiotic lead compound to suppress virulence of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (July 2019). • Developed a new platform for accelerating protein engineering and optimising CRISPR protein for higher fidelity in gene editing (July 2019). • Developed first inhaled dry powder formulation of messenger RNA (mRNA) that opens up new possibilities for treating and preventing lung diseases (November 2019). • Successfully performed the first magnetic sphincter augmentation for gastroesophageal reflex in Asia (December 2019). • Introduced the first water vapour thermal therapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia in Asia (June 2020). • Introduced Hong Kong’s first CAR-T cell therapy for blood cancer patients (February 2021). 其他範疇的「第一名」 • 與港大機械工程系合作,首次展示季節性甲型流感病毒可通過呼吸道大飛 沫和空氣中的細小顆粒傳播的直接實驗證據,為制定有效的流感控制措施 作出重大貢獻(2018 年 2 月)。 • 在非洲領導全球首個針對中東呼吸綜合症冠狀病毒的綜合研究(2018 年 3 月)。 • 研發用於愛滋病預防和免疫治療的創新型廣譜抗體藥物(2018 年 4 月)。 • 成功進行全港首宗非融合微創脊柱側彎手術(2019 年 5 月)。 • 發現全新的「非抗生素類化合物」能有效壓抑耐藥性金黃葡萄球菌的致病性 (2019 年 7 月)。 • 開發了一個新平台,用作加速蛋白質工程和優化 CRISPR 蛋白質,以提高 基因編輯的保真度(2019 年 7 月)。 • 開發出首個信使核糖核酸可吸入式乾粉製劑,為治療和預防各種肺部疾病 開創了新的可能(2019 年 11 月)。 • 成功進行了亞洲首宗以植入式磁石環增強下食道括約肌功能手術以治療胃 酸倒流(2019 年 12 月)。 • 引入亞洲首宗水蒸氣熱力治療手術以治療良性前列腺增生症(2020 年 6 月)。 • 在香港首度引入CAR-T細胞治療,成功治癒血癌病人(2021 年 2 月)。 16