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A medical officer on duty in the extraction room of the Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test laboratory in Labuan Nucleus Hospital, August 23, 2021. — Bernama pic
A medical officer on duty in the extraction room of the Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test laboratory in Labuan Nucleus Hospital, August 23, 2021. — Bernama pic

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LABUAN, Aug 23 — The Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test laboratory, costing RM700,000, has been fully completed and began operations on July 15.

Labuan Health Department director Dr Ismuni Bohari said the completion of the laboratory at the Labuan Nucleus Hospital had resulted in quicker PCR test results.

“For almost two years we have been sending the Covid-19 test samples for analysis to the National Public Health Laboratory (MKAK) in Peninsular Malaysia or a laboratory in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, and that would take few days for the results..

“The completion (through the renovation of existing building) of the PCR test laboratory has greatly helped us in expediting the analysis tasks, without having to face sample backlogs in other labs in other states,” he said to Bernama today.

Dr Ismuni said Labuan Nucleus Hospital’s PCR Lab can handle at least 300 samples of PCR tests per day and produce results quicker, at between 24 and 48 hours, with two to four hours for RTK-Ag results.

He said the laboratory which is manned by two specialists, Dr Husna Farhanah Ahmad and Dr Jubaida Paraja, three scientific officers and seven medical lab technologists, is equipped with a thermal cycler (for PCR analysis), a biosafety cabinet (BSC) for sample processing, an incubator for sample inactivation, an automated liquid handler for extraction, with supporting equipment of centrifuge, multipurpose mixer and microcentrifuge.

Dr Ismuni said the current rate for the PCR test is RM150 for Malaysians (RM250 for foreigners), RTK-Ag tests cost RM60 for Malaysians (RM120 for foreigners) and RTK Antibody tests will cost RM30 for Malaysians and RM60 for foreigners.

“It is the Ministry of Health’s concerns to ensure all hospitals are equipped with necessary medical facilities, as we look at the need for early preparation, so we requested for the PCR lab be made available here,” he said.

Labuan has recorded single-digit daily new cases past few weeks with no deaths recorded in the last 20 days. — Bernama

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