Canon Medical Developing Coronavirus Testing

Sharp television display

While we traditionally associate Canon Inc. with its printer/copiers and digital cameras, it’s also diversified into healthcare, and one of its subsidiaries, Canon Medical, is working on testing to combat one of of the world’s most pressing current crises – the coronavirus.

Canon announced on February 27th that its Canon Medical Systems Corporation is beginning development of a rapid genetic testing system for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Canon says this project is part of a research program focusing on the development of diagnostic methods for COVID-19 led by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED).

Canon Medical was selected to participate in this research program in cooperation with Nagasaki University. This was said to be in recognition of Canon Medical’s strength in leveraging the company’s technologies in providing solutions to support medical emergencies, notably by supply Ebola rapid test kits to the Republic of Guinea in 2015; donating Ebola rapid test kits to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2019; and through the manufacturing approval and sale of the Genelyzer KIT (a reagent kit for Zika virus RNA testing) in 2018.

The test and reagents developed for COVID-19 RNA testing is based on the LAMP method developed by Eiken Chemical, and are used with a compact isothermal amplified gene fluorescent detector manufactured by Canon Medical to detect the presence of the virus.

Compared to the conventional test method of real-time PCR, Canon says that the LAMP method allows for detection of the virus to be performed more easily and quickly, which makes it suitable for testing in local areas where infection is prevalent.

As Japan continues to battle the spread of infectious diseases, and with the Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled for July, Canon says Canon Medical is committed to safety and security by introducing practical solutions that address acute medical needs through the research and development of rapid genetic testing systems of COVID-19.

Sharp Producing Surgical Masks

Other office-imaging vendors are also responding to the coronavirus. For instance, Sharp Corporation of Japan announced earlier this week that it will start making surgical masks using Sharp plant in central Japan that usually makes television displays.

Sharp said production of the marks will start by the end of this month with production of 150,000 masks a day, rising to 500,000 masks a day.

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