Precision medicine is expected to be a flagship industry of the Taiwanese economy in the next decade, as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of local industries, Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) said yesterday.
Local biomedicine start-ups have over the past few years proved to be innovative, Wu told a news conference in Taipei, adding that the ministry continues to support academics in their efforts to commercialize their innovations.
Quality healthcare and advanced information and communications technologies are among Taiwan’s strengths, creating a conductive environment for the development of smart medicine, and the integration of hospital treatment and home-based healthcare, he said.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Science and Technology
At the event, a team of National Taiwan University Hospital’s Yunlin branch and Quanta Computer Inc personnel introduced a distance diagnostic system that would allow doctors to monitor patients’ basic health indicators without meeting them in person.
After local COVID-19 infections surged in the second half of May, the team offered 30 packages of the system to health authorities to use in quarantine facilities, Yunlin branch vice superintendent Matthew Ma (馬惠明) said.
The system is based on artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technology, Quanta Computer business headquarters associate vice president Song Chen-hwa (宋振華) said, adding that the team is looking to promote the system to Taipei Veterans General Hospital and other hospitals.
Other innovations presented at the event included an indoor positioning and tracking system developed by Academia Sinica distinguished visiting chair Jane Liu (張韻詩) and National Yunlin University of Science and Technology associate professor Edward Chu (朱宗賢).
The system, which can track the locations of patients and medical devices, helps patients call for assistance, said Chu, who consults for BiDaE Technology Inc, a start-up founded last year.
A team led by Taipei Medical University professor Chen Ray-jade (陳瑞杰) presented its Contactless Intelligent SafePass Kiosk, which helps people register personal information and contact history by using their National Health Insurance cards.
Chen, who founded the start-up Radica Health in 2019, said that the kiosk is in use in more than 30 hospitals nationwide.
A team led by National Central University professor Lo Men-tzung (羅孟宗) presented a health data monitoring system that helps medical personnel track the health status of patients with chronic conditions remotely.
Many teams started developing their products before the pandemic, Department of Academia-Industry Collaboration and Science Park Affairs Director-General Andrea Hsu (許增如) said.
COVID-19 is a crisis, but it also provides business opportunities for start-ups, she said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
PIVOTAL ROLE: Taiwan’s importance in the global chip supply chain can be bolstered by domestic equipment manufacturing, President Tsai Ing-wen said Efforts must be made to better secure Taiwan’s place in the global supply chain by localizing production of equipment and facilities used by the semiconductor industry, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. Tsai discussed the issue during a meeting with representatives from the Taiwan Electronic Equipment Industry Association at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Product shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly of automotive chips — highlighted the pivotal role of Taiwan in the global supply chain, she said. Tsai thanked the association for cooperating with the government on the shared goal of localizing production of important semiconductor industry equipment.
SEPARATE CASE? A woman tested positive when she went with her daughter to be tested, because her daughter had taken the same bus to school as a steakhouse worker The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 10 local COVID-19 cases, six of whom had visited a steakhouse in Taoyuan where an infection cluster has been reported. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that of the 10 local infections, one case — No. 17,928 — is a Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport disease prevention staffer who works in the area where inbound travelers collect their saliva for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and sometimes at the fever screening station. The staffer had tested negative in a PCR test on Jan. 9 and
TRACING UNDER WAY: The CECC has identified six transmission chains among 25 recently confirmed COVID-19 cases, including those linked to a restaurant and a bank The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 54 new COVID-19 infections — 44 imported and 10 local — and identified six transmission chains among local cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the imported cases are 18 who tested positive upon arrival at the airport and 26 who tested positive during quarantine. Of the local cases, seven are associated with a cluster infection at a Tasty Steak (西堤牛排) outlet in Taoyuan’s Zhongli District (中壢), one is linked to a family of four with COVID-19 reported on Monday, one is a family member of an