(Jakarta, 12/05/2020) A package of assistance from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the form of virus detection equipment using RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction) real time data techniques, has arrived at Indonesia, Monday (11/05). RT-PCR is used for swab tests on patients suspected of being infected with Covid-19 and can provide precise results for prevention of the spread of the disease.

The Science Attache of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia (PTRI) Vienna, Dimas Irawan explained, the RT-PCR equipment assistance and its accessories were sent in stages into six delivery packages. So far, the IAEA has provided assistance to use RT-PCR tools to member countries that have contracted the Ebola, Zika, MERS virus outbreaks, and are now being used for Covid-19.

"This grant itself is in the form of RT-PCR equipment that we are familiar with for the detection of the Corona virus (besides Ebola) which has been used by the IAEA to help member countries affected by the Ebola, Zika, MERS and now Covid-19 outbreaks," explained Dimas.

"As well as developing human resources in the form of future technical training to improve the readiness of medical and technical workers in facing the challenges of spreading infectious diseases in the future," he added.

At first, continued Dimas again, RT-PCR was developed using a radioactive signaled compound technique, but nowadays it has been replaced by fluorescent chemicals. This is done with the consideration of ease of transportation and its use by the operator.

Indonesia through the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) is one of more than 50 countries that have received similar assistance. With the addition of RT-PCR equipment in Indonesia, it is hoped that it can increase the number of examinations of people who are indicated to have contracted Covid-19.

Apart from RT-PCR equipment, the IAEA also provides assistance to Indonesia in the form of personal protective equipment for laboratory workers, and several other assistance.

This assistance is a form of technical cooperation between Indonesia and the IAEA whose benefits can be felt directly by the community in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on the coordination led by the Task Force for the Acceleration of Covid-19 Handling which involved the Ministry of Health, the National Disaster Management Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and BATAN, the RT-PCR equipment was placed in the Integrated Testing Unit (UPT) of the West Kalimantan Provincial Health Laboratory in Pontianak.

The selection of the UPT Health Laboratory in Pontianak considers the need to increase testing capacity evenly in all provinces as part of the national effort to accelerate the process of handling the Covid-19 pandemic. It is hoped that this additional equipment can accelerate and increase the implementation of examination results to anticipate the spread of Covid-19. (arial)