S'wak to set up infectious diseases centre under 12th Malaysia Plan

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg opening the summit on viral immunology and antiviral therapy of Covid-19 at UiTM Sarawak.

KOTA SAMARAHAN: Sarawak will set up a centre for infectious diseases under the 12th Malaysia Plan to conduct research on tropical diseases, says Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the state government had set aside RM190mil for the centre, with construction to start next year and expected to be completed by 2024.

"This will be a research centre where our scientists will collaborate with academia, the government and institutions around the world that have credibility in terms of research and development.

"Our scientists can work together to identify source materials for us to develop, and at the end of the day we will get products or drugs that can control or mitigate the spread of new diseases," he said when opening a summit on viral immunology and antiviral therapy of Covid-19 at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sarawak here on Wednesday (Nov 25).

Abang Johari said Covid-19 was one such new disease and there could be others in future due to environmental problems.

He told reporters later that the proposed centre was meant for research collaboration on tropical infectious diseases with international institutions.

"We have identified several institutions, including Cambridge University, Oxford University and Imperial College to do research, especially on tropical diseases.

"We believe this is very important in this part of the world. We hope with this collaboration, the pharmaceutical industry and those involved in medical research will come and work together with us," he said.

State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin said the centre would be located in Kota Samarahan.

"We are in the process of identifying the site. One possible site is next to the Sarawak Heart Centre," he said, adding that the project would be fast-tracked.

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