Academia Sinica yesterday denied a claim by the Chinese media that China deserved credit for the institute’s development of a rapid screening reagent for COVID-19.
“China has nothing to do with the success,” Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智) said in response to media queries, adding that Taiwan on its own merit synthesized monoclonal antibodies that can identify the protein of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The institute would soon collaborate with the Ministry of Health and Welfare, private companies and research bodies to quickly verify and mass produce the reagent and start clinical trials, Liao said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee praised the institute’s achievement.
Several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers also called for Academia Sinica to change its name in English and other languages to avoid confusion with the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Science and help Taiwan gain greater exposure in the international community.
“As ‘Sinica’ means ‘Chinese’ in Latin, the organization should consider altering its name to avoid possible confusion,” DPP Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) said.
Foreign academics often ask why the government does not change “Sinica” into “Taiwanica,” she said.
She asked the institute, which has used Academia Sinica as its English name since 1928, to submit a report on the issue within three months.
DPP Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) backed Fan’s proposal, saying that many Europeans mistook him for a Chinese national when he visited the region after COVID-19 broke out in China.
This is a good time to change the name, as the outbreak has led many Taiwanese to reshape their national identification, he added.
Liao said the institute is willing to discuss the issue, but added that the central government has the final call.
Additional reporting by CNA
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