By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, July 26: The Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre (SIDC) will undertake an immediate longitudinal serology study on vaccinated individuals in Sarawak.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the study will monitor the specific neutralising antibodies against Covid-19 over a two-year period.
“Such information is not only important for us to determine the efficacy of the current vaccination programme but allow us to make informed decisions on the need for booster doses, and type of vaccines to be given.
“This initiative may also lead to potential spin off in development of diagnostics kits and antibody drugs against Covid-19.
“This is a collaboration between SIDC and Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas),” he said during the soft launching of Sarawak Research and Development Council (SRDC) and SIDC here today.
Abang Johari who is also the Finance and Economic Planning Minister explained that the launching of SIDC marks the State government’s commitment to address the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak through targeted research.
He explained that the centre’s goals are to protect Sarawak by improving research in infectious diseases and to equip Sarawak with the capability and capacity to test medication.
These include vaccines and equipment against infectious agents and to enable Sarawak to detect, diagnose and predict potential infectious disease outbreaks.
The centre, Abang Johari added, will complement and collaborate with the Ministry of Health in tackling infectious diseases in Sarawak.
Meanwhile, SIDC will be equipped with Bio-Safety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratories to allow research and development (R&D) on BSL-3 infectious agents, and subsequently product testing to ensure commercialisation of R&D output.
It will also provide opportunities for Sarawakians to serve Sarawak and drive human capital development in biomedical science.
Among those present at the soft launch were Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin, Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Assistant Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapa’ee and State Attorney-General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid. — DayakDaily