19 Oct
2020

Reagents shortage yet another test of accuracy for Indonesia’s COVID-19 data

first_imgRead also: COVID-19: Indonesia on hunt for PCR testing kitsDisease control and prevention director general Achmad Yurianto of the Health Ministry acknowledged that the shortage of regents had forced a number of laboratories to halt testing, leaving only 37 out of 78 labs able to submit test results on Tuesday. However, he assured that a new supply of reagents enough to support up to 15,000 tests was en route to the archipelago.”The stock was sent from South Korea this morning,” Yurianto told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Indonesia has been scrambling to obtain the chemical reagents necessary for the COVID-19 PCR tests amid the global shortage, with the government seeking to procure them from countries that have a surplus of testing kits.President Joko Widodo has called for health authorities to expand PCR testing to at least 10,000 tests per day – or 300,000 tests per month – amid criticisms that the country has one of the lowest testing rates in the world.According to government data, Indonesia has tested 59,936 samples for the COVID-19 virus by Thursday, with 7,775 samples testing positive for the coronavirus. Of these confirmed cases, 635 patients have died.The government has estimated that Indonesia would need to conduct 1.2 million tests by May.However, many observers – including state officials – have cast doubt on the government’s COVID-19 figures, saying that minimal test coverage, multiple case categories and “nontransparent” data pointed to a high likelihood that the real number of cases in the country could be higher than official reports.Despite the shortage of reagents and the country’s dependence on imports to overcome this, Yurianto did not believe it would be efficient to produce the chemicals locally.“We are running against time and producing the reagents ourselves would take time and [a long] process,” he said.The director of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Amin Soebandrio, explained that the reagents required a specific level of refinement and needed to be validated for use in the COVID-19 PCR tests.Nonetheless, he said that the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) were currently attempting to produce the PCR test reagents.“Hopefully, within 2 to 3 weeks, locally made reagents will be able to contribute [to nationwide PCR tests] a little, even though they may not be able to supply nationwide laboratories,” he told the Post.However, Eijkman’s deputy for fundamental research, Herawati Sudoyo, warned that developing the reagents for the COVID-19 tests had to be done carefully to meet high quality assurance standards.Read also: COVID-19: More than 380 foreigners among infected in IndonesiaWhen asked about the possibility of alternative tests to detect the coronavirus, Herawati maintained that the PCR testing method was currently the “gold standard” for COVID-19 detection.“The reagents shortage is not happening just in Indonesia. It’s happening around the world because no one was prepared for the pandemic. But PCR [testing] remains the best option,” she said.In the meantime, Eijkman has secured a sufficient stock of reagents for the next two to three weeks, and its lab was still testing more than 300 samples per day.In Surabaya, East Java, the University of Airlangga Institute of Tropical Disease (ITD Unair) initially reported on Monday that it had run out of reagents and that the supply it had ordered on March 24 had yet to arrive.On Thursday, ITD Unair head Maria Lucia Inge Lusida told the Post that the center had resumed testing received enough reagents from the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister to test 1,400 samples.In the nation’s capital, Jakarta Health Laboratory head Endra Muryanto said that the regional lab, which had already tested 10,160 samples so far, had secured enough reagents to continue testing for the next few days.While the West Java Health Laboratory said it had also secured a new supply of reagents, it expressed concern over the general availability of reagents.“Extraction reagents are hard to obtain, and we are worried that we might have to stop testing because of a delay in the arrival of the [imported] reagents,” said laboratory head Ema Rahmawati.Topics : A shortage of reagents is interfering with the government’s efforts to ramp up much-needed mass testing for the coronavirus, posing another challenge for Indonesia regarding the true scale of its outbreak.Over the past two days, a number of the country’s laboratories have temporarily stopped running polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests because the supply of reagents – the substance essential to testing swab samples – had yet to arrive from abroad.In South Sumatra, for instance, the Palembang Health Laboratory (BBLK) had to stop testing samples due to the lack of reagents. The halt on testing caused the province to record zero new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and Tuesday, kompas.com reported.The reagents are necessary to isolate the indicators for the coronavirus RNA from human DNA in swab samples to determine whether the test subject had the virus or not.last_img read more

Read More
16 Sep
2020

Grinding Gears: ‘Roaracle’ is sacred to Warriors fandom

first_imgI was 9 years old the first time I stepped foot into Oracle Arena, the home of the Golden State Warriors. Back then, it was simply called The Arena in Oakland. The date was April 17, 2006, and they were playing the Portland Trail Blazers. I still have the ticket stubs stashed in my room back home. I remember my parents driving me on a school night through rush hour traffic to Oakland so I could experience my first Warriors game. I couldn’t wait to tell my second-grade teacher the next day that I had watched my favorite team play live for the first time. We knew this was coming for years, but reality didn’t hit me until last Sunday, when I tuned into the final regular season home game and watched the Warriors come out to the court in their throwback “We Believe” jerseys. This was a tribute to the 2006-07 team that snuck into the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade as the final team in the Western Conference and then pulled off what is still the greatest upset in NBA history, shocking the 67-win Dallas Mavericks in the first round. That playoff series is still my favorite memory as a Warriors fan, even greater than this recent string of ridiculous success. Yes, they were eliminated in the second round, but beating the Mavericks introduced the world to Oracle Arena because that place was so loud that ESPN displayed a decibel tracker on the screen during the game. This was a fanbase thirsting for any semblance of success, and man, they more or less willed Dallas into submission with the noise they made. “We Believe” was the playoff slogan, and yes, we did believe. I watched from my couch in awe as my group of scrappy underdogs upset the favorite to win the championship. Fast forward to the present day, as the Warriors — now the gold standard of NBA franchises — have already played their final regular season game in Oracle Arena ahead of their move across the bay to the Chase Center in San Francisco next season. They will finish off the postseason and probably win their third straight championship while calling Oracle home. So when Steph Curry ripped off his warm-up shirt last Sunday to reveal a “We Believe” retro jersey underneath, to which the crowd reacted with a thunderous ovation, I was hit with goosebumps … followed by sadness. I’m not one to care too much about jersey designs, but those were more than jerseys with “WARRIORS” in all caps across the front, the dark blue lettering outlined in gold and the blue and orange coloring on the side of the jersey down to the shorts. These jerseys represented the bridge between the never-ending dark days of the franchise and the championship-level dominance of today. There was something authentic about the gameday experience at Oracle, even as more and more O.G. fans became priced out as a result of the team’s recent success, even as we were constantly reminded that it was the league’s oldest arena and that an upgrade was needed. Maybe it was because it was in Oakland, a hard-nosed, blue-collar town that is reflected in its genuine love for its sports teams. Maybe it was the countless times driving up the I-880 North corridor and seeing the arena light up the night adjacent to the Coliseum, home to the Oakland A’s and Raiders. Maybe it was our routine of eating at the In-N-Out or Panda Express a few blocks away before heading in for a game. The Warriors won that game, a meaningless late-season contest in the midst of another meaningless season for what, at the time, was a sad franchise. I, alongside 16,277 other fans, sat through a game in which somebody named Ike Diogu started at power forward for the Warriors and we were applauding Derek Fisher’s high-arching free throws because what else was there to cheer for? And then there is sadness, because Oracle Arena will soon be desolate, without a tenant, void of the deafening noise and the vibrant atmosphere that is every Warriors home game. Sure, the San Francisco arena will be nice, but it will be … different. It will feel gentrified, forced and corporatized. It will be way too pricey. And it will never recreate “Roaracle.” Not that that mattered to me. I have a vivid recollection of being led up to our cheap $10 seats by an usher and seeing an NBA court in person for the first time. And not just any NBA court, but the court where the Warriors play. Imagine believing in Santa Claus as a kid and then seeing him actually come down the chimney. That was how second-grade me felt when the curtains opened to Section 221 that night. I am no longer awestruck at basketball arenas like I was 13 years ago. I have been fortunate to cover a handful of Warriors games, including the NBA Finals in 2017. But I have never covered a game at Oracle Arena, so whenever I attend a game there, it still feels like I was the same fan as my 9-year-old self. Soon, that experience that was such a defining memory of my childhood will be taken away. So rest assured, I will make it out to a playoff game in the coming months, ticket prices be damned. It will be worth it to take in Roaracle one final time. Eric He is a senior writing about current events in sports. He is also the features editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Mondays.last_img read more

Read More