Centre to study vaccine efficacy

Abang Johari delivers his speech on the longitudinal serology study on Sarawak vaccinated individuals. Photo: Ukas

KUCHING: A longitudinal serology study on vaccinated individuals in Sarawak to study the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccination will be carried out soon.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this would be an immediate project to be undertaken by the Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre (SIDC) in collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM).

“The study will monitor the specific neutralising antibodies against Covid-19 over a two-year period.

“Such information is important for us to determine the efficacy of the current vaccination programme,” he said when officiating at the launching of the SIDC and Sarawak Research and Development Council (SRDC) offices at Jalan Datuk Abang Abdul Rahim yesterday (July 26).

Abang Johari, who is also the SRDC chairman, said the study would also allow the government to make informed decisions on the need for booster doses and the type of vaccines to be given.

“This initiative may also lead to potential spin off in the development of diagnostics kits and antibody drugs against Covid-19.

The SRDC was set up through the Sarawak Research and Development Ordinance 2017 to enable effective coordination of research activities, facilitate and attract meaningful collaborations between local and international research institutions and to enhance research and development (R&D) activities in Sarawak.

The setting up of the SIDC which is under the purview of the SRDC is one of the many initiatives to realise the vision and mission of the council.

The key functions of the current SIDC office are to ensure successful delivery of the SIDC physical project by 2024, ensure laboratory work and analysis of facts generated from the SIDC research projects such as the Covid-19 vaccine serology study, establish research collaboration with local and international partners as well as establish policy and framework to form the basis for collaboration with Ministry of Health (MOH).

In addition, the RM200 million new research centre, which is to be located at a site near the Sarawak Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan, is expected to be completed and operational within the next two years.

Among those present at the launching of the SIDC and SRDC offices were Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Amar Michael Manyin, Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee, State Attorney-General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid and SRDC general manager Dr Peter Morin Nissom.