Reagent counterfeiting you don't know urgently nee

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Reagent counterfeiting "Jianghu" you don't know urgently needs to shape reagent brand image

Abstract: when talking about fake goods in China, people usually think of pirated DVDs, fake LV handbags and Rolex watches. However, these fake reagents are not sold in the bustling open market, but are sold through complex stations and mixed with real goods

in China, there is a lucrative market for counterfeit reagents. Now, some scientists are fighting back. When it comes to fake goods in China, people usually think of pirated DVDs, fake LV handbags and Rolex watches. However, these fake reagents are not sold in the bustling open market, but are sold through complex stations and mixed with real goods

one day in 2013, Huang song walked into a printing shop in the northwest urban area of Beijing, where he accidentally found a blatant and very common criminal act. Huang song is a synthetic biology researcher. The printing shop is only 15 kilometers away from the Beijing Institute of life sciences where he works

he wanted to find a small desktop printer to print hundreds of labels needed for his experiment, so he asked the shopkeeper if a certain type of printer in the shop could print on heat-resistant paper. The shopkeeper proudly took out the samples he made for other customers with this printer

testing machine with the labels of the bottles of high priced antibodies produced by these companies in Europe and America should not be only a partner in the same way with the instrument and equipment enterprises. For enthusiastic print owners, the words on these labels are meaningless, but they directly confirm the long-standing suspicion of Huang song and his colleagues that many antibodies sold by Chinese dealers are counterfeit

counterfeiters are selling counterfeit and diluted research reagents to the market, and this text printing shop in Zhongguancun, Beijing's leading science and Technology Park, is one of the places where they buy equipment for printing labels of counterfeit reagents. "This experience confirms my previous doubts," Huang Song said

when talking about fake goods in China, people usually think of pirated DVDs, fake LV handbags and Rolex watches. However, these fake reagents are not sold in the prosperous open market, but are sold through complex stations and mixed with real goods. In the process of procurement and sales, they have the help of many unknowns, such as the owner of text printing in Zhongguancun

even university cleaners were accused of participating in the secret process of forging laboratory supplies such as basic chemical reagents, serum for cell culture and standard kits. Although the impact of this illegal trade is difficult to quantify, Chinese scientists, as well as some scientists in Europe and North America, say that counterfeit products have led them astray and wasted their time and experimental materials

some Chinese scientists worry that this problem may undermine China's efforts to become the world's scientific leader. The options to crack down on counterfeiters are very limited. Reagent companies whose brand image has been damaged and instruments deceived by fake reagents meet the requirements of gb1633, gb1634 and other standards. Scientists are unwilling to take legal action, partly because of embarrassment and partly because they have no confidence in the extent to which law enforcement agencies can crack down on this industry. "You can't stop people from making and selling fake goods. The profit margin of this industry is too high." Huang Song said

now, scientists and Reagent Suppliers are developing strategies to try to reverse this situation. Large suppliers have carried out training activities on the phenomenon of counterfeit goods, and scientists share their frustrations and tips to avoid counterfeit products with each other. Huang song helped found a partially state-owned reagent import company, which took advantage of new customs and quarantine procedures, which may help narrow the market for counterfeit reagents

but these methods can't help everyone. Researchers in research institutions outside key research cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are particularly vulnerable to counterfeit products. Xie can, a biophysicist at Peking University, said: "I know that many laboratories are still buying and using fake imported chemical reagents, and I feel sorry for them."

China is an attractive target for counterfeiting in this specific industry. China's scientific research investment is expanding rapidly: the biomedical budget of the National Natural Science Foundation of China has quadrupled in the past decade. China's huge size also means that foreign companies that are difficult to keep up with demand and unwilling to deal with China's complex distribution system must rely on local distributors. Jay Dong, global vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific region of antibody manufacturer CST, said: "in China, we face many distribution challenges and logistics difficulties in distribution."

therefore, some local companies often assume the much-needed distribution role. Leng Zhaowu, CEO of Shanghai Youning Weisheng Technology Co., Ltd., one of China's largest antibody dealers, said that some dealers are authorized by manufacturers, but many are not; It is generally difficult for scientists to distinguish the difference between the two

China's cumbersome customs and quality control procedures lead to high prices of imported reagents and long waiting time, creating conditions for unscrupulous reagent manufacturers. For products that look as like as two peas, they ask for lower prices and faster services, and sometimes claim that goods are smuggled. Jay Dong of antibody manufacturer CST said: "in China, we do notice more common counterfeiting than other countries."

Xie can once engaged in postdoctoral research in the United States. He said that it took him several years to find that some chemical reagents he bought were defective after returning home in 2009. Dealers claim that they represent high-quality products from foreign companies, but they are actually selling cheap domestic products. He could not say whether impure low-quality reagents were responsible for the failure of the experiment, but he added that the "mysterious insoluble matter" he found in some solutions should have aroused his vigilance. Now, he only buys reagents from well-known companies with branches in China

Huang song is the executive deputy director of Beijing Institute of life sciences. In 2012, he witnessed a colleague facing a similar dilemma. Six months after the publication of a paper, the colleague found that he could not repeat the results of some experiments. He used all the common troubleshooting methods and asked his colleagues for help. Eventually, he found that a reagent he used to introduce DNA into cells undermined his repeated work. Now, Huang song believes that the reason for the problem is counterfeit reagents

"you'll only think about the reagent at last," he said. "Such pressure can't be measured by money." Counterfeit antibodies are a particularly common source of anxiety. Antibodies are crucial in many biological experiments and are needed to label and track proteins in many biological systems. But even uncontaminated antibodies sometimes make experiments difficult: different batches of antibodies may have natural differences, and they may target proteins that are not expected by researchers

this uncertainty makes it difficult to detect counterfeit reagents. Zhu Weimin, senior vice president of antibody technology of Aibo antibody, said: "negative results may be caused by many reasons." Aibo antibody is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, but also has a branch in Shanghai. " This problem is very serious. "

the impact of this confusion and uncertainty is not limited to China. For example, in 2012, some researchers from London and Poland reported that they detected a protein in the blood of patients with chronic kidney disease using an antibody based ELISA kit. However, Herbert Lin, a nephrologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, bought the same Kit (the product of Wuhan USCN life science equipment company) and tested it strictly; He found that the reagent was aimed at another protein. The authors of the original study now agree that the antibody is clearly targeting the wrong protein

"we sent several emails to manufacturers about their reagents, but we didn't receive a reply; this may have aroused our vigilance long ago," they wrote. Regarding the USCN brand ELISA kit, Ioannis prassas, a cancer researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, had a similar experience. Prassas said his team spent two years and nearly $500000 trying to figure out the cause of the problem

Chris sun, the technology development director of Wuhan cloud clone technology company (the sales company of USCN products), said that they tested the reagent purchased by the prassas team, but found no problems. Cloud clone eventually compensated prassas. Sun denied that they intended to exchange antibodies. She said: "we have thousands of antibodies produced by ourselves. We have real antibodies and there is no reason to sell fake antibodies." He said he had not received any complaints about the ELISA kit for nephropathy

she added that USCN kits are mostly sold through distributors, and companies sometimes find counterfeit products disguised as USCN products

although some companies are making efforts, it is not easy to estimate the scale of the problem. In the second half of last year, aibocan counted the complaints received by customers from China in the past year. After checking the bar code, batch number and purchase time, Aibo anti found that 42% of the 1700 complaints were related to counterfeit products

secret formula

the quality of reagents obtained by scientists may be different. Zhang Jue, general manager of Aibo antibody Shanghai Branch, said that sometimes cheap ordinary antibodies will be re labeled and sold as expensive rare antibodies. Counterfeiters sometimes use antibodies with similar molecular weight to fake, so even if a rapid test is used to verify the reagent, scientists will not find it. But these antibodies will miss the target in the experiment

dilution of antibodies is a more common problem than alternatives. Leng Zhaowu said that counterfeiters would buy authentic products from Chinese or overseas dealers and dilute one reagent into five. "Customers get products that are much less effective. These antibodies are sometimes useful and sometimes useless."

Jay Dong of antibody manufacturer CST said that counterfeiters "have made great efforts to copy our packaging and forge enough test tubes and labels to confuse the true with the false. The source of the counterfeiting problem seems to be a small and active group in the market."

in a printing shop similar to that shown in this figure in Zhongguancun, Beijing, a researcher found evidence of the existence of counterfeit reagent trading

many participants did not know that they were involved in the process of making and selling counterfeit products. The owner of the printing shop in Zhongguancun didn't know he was involved in illegal activities. "They are all part of the supply chain, but they are not bad people," Huang Song said

He picked out an empty bottle of reagents from the laboratory in 2015. He was so confused that he asked her why. "I reminded her not to drink water from reagent bottles," he said. She told Huang song that someone was buying these reagent bottles at the price of 40 yuan a bottle. This was another moment that made him suddenly realize

these reagent bottles originally contained fetal bovine serum (FBS), aHLE
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