IPB University Laboratories Assigned for COVID-19 Samples Testing

Positive cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia is growing day by day, especially in ‘Jabodetabek’ (Jakarta-Bogor-Depok-Tangerang-Bekasi) metropolitan area as epicenter of the outbreak. The positive cases are growing exponentially in Indonesia. By mid-April, almost five thousands positive cumulative cases were detected, with an addition of 282 new cases. Several areas in ‘Jabodetabek’ have implemented a Large-Scale Social Limitation (PSBB). Jakarta Province has been implementing PSBB since April 10th, 2020, and is soon followed by supporting cities including Bogor, Bekasi, and Depok. Currently, facilities which are desperately needed include laboratories which are adequate to accurately test COVID-19 infection in the public. This demand is present due to the overflowing number of cases to be tested, many more than the capabilities of currently available laboratories. In some areas, there are even people queuing to be tested.

To overcome this problem, the authorities (the government of Bogor City and Regency) has requested IPB University to help analyze samples of suspected COVID-19 patients. Didik Pramono, DVM—Public Relations of IPB University’s COVID-19 laboratories team revealed that several labs in IPB University are more than adequate to be utilized as COVID-19 test labs. The government of Bogor and West Java has officially requested IPB University to assist in the examination of COVID-19 samples. For this purpose, three (3) unit laboratories have been equipped, the Biotechnology Lab at the Primate Research Center (PSSP) which is a Biosafety Level-2 (BSL-2) lab, CRC Science Techno Park lab, also a BSL-2 lab, and the SATREPS Comprehensive Lab from the Veterinary Medicine Faculty (BSL-2 and BSL-3). There are also four Real Time PCR machines available, three to be used while one is on standby and will be used when even more samples arrive. On April 13th, 2020, IPB University’s COVID-19 Laboratories began receiving samples from the City and Regency of Bogor. The labs have a testing quota of 180 samples in a week. By mid-April 2020, as many as 117 samples have been analyzed by IPB University’s COVID-19 laboratories using RT-PCR method standardized by the Indonesian Ministry of Health and WHO guidelines.

IPB University’s COVID-19 Laboratories Team is led by Prof. Srihadi Agungpriyono, DVM—Dean of IPB Faculty of Veterinary Medicine) and is comprised of 31 researchers with experience handling microbiological and molecular samples. Among them are Dr. Joko Pamungkas, DVM who is a virology expert, Dr. Huda Darusman, DVM, a coordinator in the PSSP Biotechnology laboratory, Prof. Retno D. Soejoedono from the Comprehensive Laboratory of SATREPS (Veterinary Medicine Faculty), and Gunadi Setiadarma, DVM from the Collaborative Research Center-Science Techno Park (CRC-STP). The health, safety, and security of human resources aspect of testing is led by Dr. dr. Irma H. Suparto and a team of doctors following the health and work safety protocols. Dr. Diah Iskandriati, DVM who is a Biosafety Officer from PSSP was also actively involved in drafting the Operational Procedure Guideline to ensure the safety and security of those involved in the SARS-CoV-2 (viral agent of COVID-19) molecular testing.

Beside laboratories involvement, IPB University’s team also partake in producing Virus Transport Mediums (VTMs) that are essential in COVID-19 suspected patients’ specimens collection stage. Amidst this pandemic hardships, VTMs became rare items. To overcome this problem, IPB Laboratory of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine produce VTMs to be donated to the Health Services Agency and hospitals in need. The team can produce up to 250-500 VTMs a day and by mid-April 2020, as many as over four thousands VTMs and swabs have been donated. These efforts are expected to accelerate COVID-19 best measures throughout the nation.

Published Date : 17-Apr-2020

Resource Person : Dr Okti

Keyword : VTM, COVID-19, Crisis Center, IPB University