Minister hopes Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre can become catalyst for biomedical sector growth in SEA

Sagah speaking to the press after the site handover from BDC Sdn Bhd to Perbena Emas Sdn Bhd on March 28, 2024.

By Marlynda Meraw

KUCHING, March 28: It is hoped that Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre (SIDC) will become the cornerstone of an ecosystem that will accelerate growth in the biomedical sector within the South East Asia (SEA) region, says Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development (MEITD) Dato Sri Roland Sagah Wee Inn.

According to him, SIDC has conducted visits to numerous colleges globally, including Imperial College London and Oxford’s Cambridge to attract researchers in conducting studies to SIDC.

The centre has also explored collaborations with Switzerland’s Tropical Disease Centre and sought partnerships with countries like Australia and South Korea, which are known for their advancements in the biomedical field.

“We want Sarawak to be the hub for the SEA region. Some Australian researchers are doing their study regarding rabies in Indonesia and we are hoping they can come here to do it in SIDC,” said Sagah as he touched on the prevalent rabies issue and hoped that with the completion of the SIDC building, effective treatments for rabies can be found.

The primary objective of SIDC is to enhance the State’s readiness for future potential pandemics, he said, adding Malaysia was inadequately prepared to handle the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This can guarantee that we (Sarawak) can be ready for any incoming pandemic as the situation will depend on the work that is to be carried out by SIDC,” he said after the witnessing the SIDC site handover from Borneo Development Corporation (BDC) Sarawak Sdn Bhd to Perbena Emas Sdn Bhd.

Sagah was later invited to witness the inaugural pilling of the site before the conclusion of the ceremony.

Sagah (centre) witnessing the site handover by BDC CEO, Nor-E-Fadzwie Salleh (right) to Perbena Emas Executive Director, Helen Teng (second left) on March 28, 2024.

SIDC is currently located within the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), meant for clinical research. The new site will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to conduct vaccine research.

The SIDC construction project is expected to be completed within 30 months. — DayakDaily