KUCHING, Nov 27: The establishment of a Research Centre for Infectious Diseases in Kota Samarahan will provide the best platform for the development of local scientists to get more involved in research activities.
Lauding Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s announcement to commit RM190 million for the setting up of the research centre which was expected to be completed in 2024, Demak assemblyman Dr Hazland Hipni said the project was timely.
“This will not only establish Sarawak as the main Research Centre for Infectious Diseases in the Asia Pacific, but also contribute to the development of global health in finding cure and vaccine for infectious diseases which have not been found,” he emphasised in a statement today.
He noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had led to many developed countries in the world working hard to find and develop a vaccine, but which until today was still in the trial process.
“This situation encouraged the Sarawak government to get involved in research activities for infectious diseases based on the capability and resources in the state,” he said.
Dr Hazland pointed out that Sarawak’s tropical forest has many natural resources that can be explored and developed to produce potential vaccines for infectious diseases.
“It is believed that there are various plant species with high nutritions that exist in Sarawak’s tropical forests and used in traditional medicines of the Malay, Iban, Melanau and Orang Ulu.
“This needed to be further explored and to expand its use with commercialisation,” he said.
He shared that it was estimated that more than 2,000 species of natural plants have been identified with medicinal value and have potential for commercialisation.
“With latest technology and backed by extensive knowledge and natural resources, it is capable of turning Sarawak into the world’s leading and internationally recognised infectious diseases vaccines producers,” he said of the aspiration as Sarawak strived to become a developed state by 2030.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari in announcing the project on Nov 25 emphasised that the purpose to set up the research centre was to advance research, innovation and development especially for tropical diseases.
With the facility, he hoped that local scientists can work together and collaborate with academia and credible institutions throughout the world with capabilities in research and development like Cambridge and Oxford to do further research on tropical diseases.
As brilliant minds and talents come together, Abang Johari hoped they can come out with products or drugs that can control or mitigate the spread of new diseases or find solutions to world problems, especially impacting the environment. — DayakDaily