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Indonesian women scientists win fellowships for COVID-19 innovations

Gisela Swaragita
Gisela Swaragita

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, November 30, 2020  /  04:26 pm
Indonesian women scientists win fellowships for COVID-19 innovations

A laboratory worker tests COVID-19 PCR samples in a mobile laboratory truck in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 15. (REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger)

L’Oréal Indonesia has awarded the 2020 L’Oréal-UNESCO National Fellowship For Women in Science (FWIS) to two Indonesian scientists.

Anggia Prasetyoputri from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and Latifah Nurahmi from the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS) in Surabaya, East Java, were found to have made extraordinary contributions to innovations to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Not only did the two scientists […] focus on the ongoing situation, they also thought about other challenges in the medical world, such as the continuing effects of COVID-19 on patients and the benefits of robotic development in rehabilitation and operation,” said Arief Rachman, head of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, during an online press conference on Wednesday.

Anggia won the fellowship for her research on bacterial coinfections in COVID-19 patients using swab sample sequencing. 

She started the research after realizing that COVID-19 patients might also be infected with bacteria or viruses other than SARS-CoV-2. People weakened by COVID-19 are more susceptible to these pathogens. She introduced a quick way to identify coinfections that could help doctors prescribe the right courses of treatment.

Read also: AstraZeneca promises virus vaccine at cost price worldwide

Latifah developed a robotic system that could significantly reduce physical contact between patients and doctors, decreasing risks during surgery.

Established in 2004, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program aims to acknowledge and support women in science. It has granted 59 fellowships to Indonesian women scientists.

“The recipients will immediately start their explorations to create solutions in the medical industry. L’Oréal believes that the advancement of science and women scientists in every sector will have a great impact on humanity,” said Melanie Masriel, communications, public affairs and sustainability director at L’Oréal.

Each winner will receive Rp 100 million (US$7,125.71) in support of their research. (wng)

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