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First diagnoses of COVID-19 in Malaysia

On January 25th 2020, the first three human cases in Malaysia were diagnosed by the Ministry of Health using the Corona Quan protocol from the PREDICT project, after the Ministry of Health reached out to Conservation Medicine for suggestions of diagnostic options while waiting for the primers, probes and controls for the WHO COVID-19 Berlin qPCR protocol to arrive in Malaysia.

Sharing of COVID-19 information

Between January and March 2020 – during the early stages of the outbreak – Conservation Medicine shared information provided by our partners involved in the international response to COVID-19, with the Ministry of Health and colleagues on the front line in Malaysia. The information related to the latest testing protocols, PPE guidelines, biosafety advice and recommendations, SOPs for disinfecting in different settings and handling bodies, advice on serology platforms, SARS-CoV-2 risk assessment and relevant papers on SARS-CoV-2.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donations

In March and April 2020 Conservation Medicine donated PPE to Sabah State Health Department, Tawau District in Sabah, and the Selangor State Health Department to help support the impressive Malaysian response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Organised testing supplies

In May 2020 through the PREDICT project Conservation Medicine and EcoHealth Alliance arranged for primers, probes, and controls for the WHO COVID-19 Berlin qPCR protocol for the National Public Health Laboratory, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, and the Kota Kinabalu Public Health Laboratory to help support their testing efforts.

Between June and September 2020, working with the US Embassy in Malaysia and using funds provided by the USAID Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance team in Bangkok, Conservation Medicine helped organise, source, and coordinate the delivery of supplies for testing 10,000 people – valued at USD$300K – for the Kota Kinabalu Public Health Laboratory to help support the Ministry of Health in their impressive response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Conservation Medicine COVID-19 Response

USAID funded testing supplies on their way to the Kota Kinabalu Public Health Laboratory

Testing wildlife for SARS-CoV-2

In August 2020 through the PREDICT project, Conservation Medicine and EcoHealth Alliance screened 1254 archive samples in Malaysia from 1207 animals, including 28 priority species considered potential reservoir or host species for SARS-CoV-2, using a conventional PCR method modified from the COVID-19 Berlin protocol as part of a global effort to better understand the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in any of the samples.

A bat is tested for coronaviruses in Sabah as part of the PREDICT project

A bat is tested for coronaviruses in Sabah as part of the PREDICT project. SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in any of the samples.