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Myongji Hospital shares COVID-19 experience with Mayo Clinic
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2020.03.30 16:05
  • Updated 2020.03.30 16:05
  • comments 0

Myongji Hospital said Monday it held a webinar last Friday to share its experiences in containing new coronavirus with the Mayo Clinic Care Network (MCCN).

Professors of Myongji Hospital participate in a webinar concerning COVID-19 treatment response held at the request of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, at the hospital in Goyang, north of Seoul, on Friday.

According to the hospital, about 170 medical experts from 40 MCCN hospitals, including the U.S. Mayo Clinic itself, took part in the online seminar, presided over by Myung Hospital Chairman Lee Wang-jin. The hospital hosted a similar webinar last Wednesday and Thursday, joined by 1,359 government officials and other specialists from 161 countries at the request of the United Nations.

During the webinar, Lee gave a comprehensive description of the overall situation of Korea's COVID-19 handling, such as the epidemiological characteristics of Koreans, outbreaks in the hotspot of Daegu and North Gyeongsang region, and Korea's response and diagnosis strategy after the nation confirmed its first patient on Jan. 20.

Lee characterized Korea's efforts to cope with COVID-19 as four points -- transparency and information disclosure, paralleled use of containment and mitigation policy, efficient and creative patient classification and treatment system (three-step classification and treatment, including temporary healthcare center), broad but selective screening, and rapid tracking (composed of the development process, sample collection, analytical capacity).

Among them, he stressed that broad but selective screening and rapid tracking as an essential part of Korea's four-step COVID-19 response.

"As there is no cure or vaccine, the only weapon in the battle against COVID-19 is the diagnostic kit," Lee said. "The only way to contain the spread depends on how quickly we can find the patients."

Lee noted that seven bio-ventures are producing such test kits in Korea, while many more companies are waiting to gain approvals for their products.

He also explained the drive-through and walk-through testing methods, which made rapid testing possible in Korea.

"These methods allowed more than 100 hospitals and companies to conduct tests aside from those done by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Lee said. "They are behind the nation’s capability to screen about 20,000 suspected patients daily."

Lee also introduced his hospital's efforts, including preemptive responses to the COVID-19, the successful development of the RT-PCR diagnostic kit in cooperation with its subsidiary CancerRop, a company specializing in molecular diagnostic sequencing immunotherapy, and an artificial intelligence (AI) platform, which can increase the speed and accuracy of diagnosing COVID-19 through lung CT and X-ray image data.

After Lee's representation, Professor Kang Yu-min of the department of infectious disease at the hospital introduced the treatment process of confirmed patients, including its running the entire area of its Regional Emergency Medical Center (Block E) as the "COVID-19 Headquarters."

The first floor of Block E consists of emergency and relief outpatient centers, screening clinics, and negative pressure rooms. The third floor has a pneumonia surveillance unit (PSU), and the fourth floor, the ASU (inpatient selection unit). The second and fifth floors have negative pressure rooms exclusively treating COVID-19 confirmed patients.

"Members who participated in the webinar consistently selected the hospital's plan for running the entire area of its Regional Emergency Medical Center (Block E) as a "COVID-19 Headquarters" as the best innovative management system," Mayo Clinic Medical Director Mark Larson said. "The rapid self-development of the RT-PCR test kit and the early diagnosis system development through CT imaging using AI artificial intelligence were also very impressive."


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