KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — The staff of the Virology Unit of the Infectious Disease Research Centre at the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) have been placed in readiness to investigate the COVID-19 infection.

This especially to ensure that the outcomes of tests conducted on samples of patients suspected to be down with COVID-19 were accurate and reported to the hospital as soon as possible.

IMR Virology Clinical Specialist Dr Rozainanee Mohd Zain said, prior to this, the unit’s laboratory was operating from Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm but now they had an on-call list for staff to be on duty from morning to night, including weekends.

“We have two sessions (shifts). Basically, those working from morning until 3 pm and from 3 pm until night … if everything is okay, things should be settled by 9 pm but sometimes the staff have to wait to receive samples, make sure all tests are run well and report results to the hospital for patient management process, “he said.

She said this when invited as a guest on a Bernama TV programme, ‘Darah Muda’ here tonight.

Dr Rozainanee said nine personnel are on duty for each shift and samples received by the virology unit would need to be processed immediately.

“From the time we receive the sample (from the hospital) until the release of the test results it takes between 24 hours and 48 hours,” she said adding that the unit had conducted over 500 tests since the virus’ clusters occurred to date.

She added that the unit had invited several local universities and agencies for a meeting to discuss on having a collaboration or joint research on COVID-19.

According to her, the meeting would be held at the National Institutes of Health, in Setia Alam, Selangor on Feb 14.

Asked if the virology unit is working on coming up with a vaccine for COVID-19, she said the possibility would be discussed at an upcoming meeting this Friday.



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