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Woman scientist rises with formula of success

Updated: 2022-03-09 14:58 ( China Daily )
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Wang Qihui carries out experiments in a lab at the Institute of Microbiology, affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Beijing.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Dedication and determination prove winning combination as she leads a committed team tackling COVID-19, Yuan Quan and Zhou Zhou report.

The proverb "great power in small things" has a great many applications, but it very aptly describes Wang Qihui, a petite Chinese woman who has taken on a challenging mission: to develop new antibody drugs that can defeat COVID-19.

Since January 2020, when Wang first volunteered to work on COVID-19, the virologist at one of China's top academic institutions has been racing against the clock to find ways of defeating the deadly virus. Her efforts have yielded significant results, although she continues to conduct research on further solutions.

Wang, 37, works at the Institute of Microbiology, affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in the north of Beijing. Her office is a bright room filled with books, simple furniture and a light floral fragrance. It could be mistaken for business premises, were it not for the white-coated personnel walking around the laboratory opposite.

Over the past two years, Wang has led her laboratory team in conducting research on the development of reagent testing, neutralizing antibodies and recombinant vaccines. She has worked around the clock, often foregoing food and sleep.

Tasked with finding effective antibodies in a short time, Wang conducted experiments day and night, and for half a month, she didn't leave the lab at all. Whenever she could not continue, she would collapse in a chair for a few hours.

"I felt like I had died," Wang says, recalling the early days of the pandemic.

Her painstaking efforts were not in vain. Five months after the novel coronavirus first broke out, her team announced that JS016, the neutralizing antibody against COVID-19 that they had developed, had entered human testing following approval by China's drug regulator. It was the world's first monoclonal antibody targeting COVID-19 to be administered to healthy people in clinical trials.

In November, the antibody was granted emergency use authorization in 15 countries, including the United States and several European countries.

It was only then that Wang was relieved of the great mental pressure she had been under. In the early days of the pandemic, the pressure had been amplified by publicly stated doubts regarding Chinese scientists. Feeling aggrieved by such views, she was determined to accelerate her research and take the lead in the global race to defeat the virus.

Aside from all the hard work, Wang attributes her achievements in COVID-19 research largely to her previous experience in the field of viral infectious diseases. After obtaining her doctorate in 2012, Wang joined the Institute of Microbiology and participated in the research on Middle East respiratory syndrome, also known as MERS.Four years later, she completed the mission of isolating antibodies from the blood of patients who had recovered from the Zika virus.

Over the past 10 years, she has published dozens of papers in the world's leading academic journals and translated an English-language science book. Wang's work brought her wide acclaim and a host of accolades.

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The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]

The 2022 China International Travel Mart was launched in Kunming, Yunnan province today. The three-day event opened at the Kunming Dianchi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Centre, with a theme focusing on smart innovation and high-quality tourism industry aspects.

The news conference was held in the city on Thursday. Zhang Xilong, first class inspector of the Bureau of the International Communication and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and Lou Kewei, deputy-director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Yunnan province presented the meeting along with academy and entrepreneur representatives.

The conference introduced the preparations and relevant activities of the mart, such as a forum on smart tourism and innovation, a symposium on international travel communication and cooperation in the framework of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and a workshop on the China-Laos railway’s contribution to building an Asian community with a shared future.

According to the news meeting, the 2022 travel mart covers about 80,000 square meters, with about 4,200 standard booths. 71 countries and regions attended the event both online and offline, and 31 domestic provinces, cities and autonomous regions and 261 independent exhibition teams.

Online services will be provided to the overseas buyers and sellers in the light of time zones. They could also have a face-to-face negotiation at the mart as well.

The mart also has diverse displays to show culture and tourism, physical education and tourism, as well as overseas tourism and museums.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration, the Palace Museum and museums from other provinces will attend the travel mart.

At the event, Yunnan province will have 2,000 standard booths in four separate sections; each will show culture tourism, healthy lifestyles, physical education tourism and culture tourism consumption.

The travel mart will also stick to the rules of pandemic prevention and control while having the activities go on smoothly.

The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]
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