The BGI's Huo-Yan Laboratory was formally launched in the Philippines

On 8 May 2020, the Molecular and Diagnostic Pathology Laboratory (Huo-Yan) was formally launched at Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital(JBLMRH) in San Fernando, Pampanga. The ceremony was graced by Representative of H.E. Ambassador Huang Xilian, Mr. Tan QingSheng, Minister Counselor and Deputy Chief of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III of Department of Health, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nogales, Vice-President Mr. Ahmed Saeed of Asian Development Bank, local government officials and medical center chiefs.

Tan extended congratulations on the completion of the laboratory on behalf of the Chinese Embassy and thanked the Philippine government and the Asia Development Bank for the valuable trust in Chinese enterprise and technology. Tan said, large-scale detection is crucial to contain the virus. The Huo-Yan lab, developed by the Chinese BGI company, has played an important role in the anti-pandemic work in Wuhan. The Huo-Yan labs have been exported to dozens of countries such as Australia, Italy, France, and Sweden etc. With the launching of this lab, 3000 samples can be tested daily, which will add to the detection capacity of the Philippines significantly and help to pave the way for the gradual resumption of work and normal life at the earliest.

Tan emphasized that viruses do not respect borders. Humanity is a community with a shared future. Unity and cooperation is the only way to meet our challenges. The completion of this lab is the result of the joint cooperation between government, international institutions and enterprises, which has set a good model for regional and international cooperation to fight the virus. China has participated in both bilateral and multilateral cooperation to fight the pandemic in an open, transparent and responsible way.

 Tan said, during this battle, China and the Philippines have been helping each other, fighting side by side. The Philippine government and people have generously assisted China in our fight against the pandemic. In return, the Chinese government and people have donated much-needed medical supplies worth tens of millions US dollars to the Philippines. Last month, a twelve-member Chinese medical expert team was invited here for two weeks to share the hard-won experiences with their Filipino counterparts. China also issued special permits and provided assistance to the Philippine military air crafts and vessels to go to China to bring back huge amount of medical supplies purchased from China. A "Goodwill Flight" to Manila was arranged by the Embassy to help transport the medical supplies as well. China will continue to do more and we hope this special partnership of mutual support will continue to stay in the days ahead and be expanded to other areas of our bilateral relations.

Secretary Duque said that at this trying time, the completion of the lab is very significant because that is one of the objectives to increase testing capacity. So we will be able to detect early and identify people with COVID-19 early. The quicker the interventions, the quicker we can isolate them, the quicker we can quarantine those who are exposed. So it's going to really improve our capacity to identify people. So far the cooperation between China and Philippines has been superb. And this lab is a booster. It is a confidence building measure. 

Secretary Nograles said the lab was very impressed. We are very thankful to the Chinese government for allowing us to access this sort of technology. It's very important for us to really take control of what's happening in terms of controlling the pandemic. And we are very thankful to Chinese government for lending their aid and support. And they sent some specialists over to assess our preparedness and gave us steps and advice on how we could increase our preparedness. It is in this time when governments from all across must come together and work and help each other. Data sharing, information sharing and technology sharing are something very important for all countries, as well as enabling everybody to have access to medical equipment, medicines, vaccines and cures.

In March of 2020, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) issued its plan to enhance the capability of Member States to fight against the COVID-19 and then introduced BGI's Huo-Yan Laboratory Solution into the Philippines to increase local capacity of virus detection. The Laboratory is designed to have the capacity of 3000 test per day. Until now, Huo-Yan Lab has been introduced into more than 20 countries, including Australia, Denmark, Sweden, France, Saudi Arabia and UAE and etc.

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