SIBU: The medicine faculties of SEGi University and Duke University have teamed up to enhance clinical research work on respiratory viruses.
Speaking at the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MoA), SeGi vice-chancellor Prof Dr Patrick Kee said their research would focus on building capacity for surveillance and diagnosis of respiratory viruses, which would be conducted at Clinical Research Centre, Sibu Hospital.
The MoA signing was followed by the launch of the centre.
Duke University was represented by Prof Dr Gregory Gray from Infestious Disease Division, Global Health Institute and Nicholas School of Environment.
The MoA entails, among other things, the provision of R&D resources worth RM900,000 by Duke University, which aims to be one of the world’s premier research institution.
“Duke University will send a team of researchers to assist with the research work.
“The projects aim to help hospital’s clinical staff adapt respiratory virus diagnostic as they currently have a high prevalence of pneumonia and no viral diagnostic capability,” he added.
In this project, both universities will be surveiling for influenza viruses, coronaviruses, adenoviruses, and enteroviruses of human or animal origin in medical waiting room, open markets, poultry and swine farm, and meat processing plants in Sarawak.
“We will be working towards a common goal – to improve the understanding of factors contributing to the spread of respiratory illness as well as enhancing preparedness for the prevention of disease outbreaks in Malaysia.
“This will be one of our niche contributions towards the country’s healthcare development,” Prof Kee added.
Prof Kee calls on the state government to come up with a strategy so that universities in Sarawak can contribute towards the growth of niche industries and healthcare development in the state.
“SEGi University is willing to initiate this plan with government agencies if we are given an opportunity to serve the people of Sarawak through a research strategic plan,” he said.