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Jakarta Post

LIPI techs develop COVID-19 tracing device to reduce reproduction rate

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, November 18, 2020   /   12:01 pm
LIPI techs develop COVID-19 tracing device to reduce reproduction rate A health worker takes a nasopharyngeal swab from a journalist during a COVID-19 testing program on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Press Council in Jakarta. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

It has been over eight months since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced the first COVID-19 cases in Indonesia in March, and nearly just as long since the government launched a robust public health campaign and imposed the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), as well as other measures.

However, the number of new cases has continued to rise to reach over 470,000 confirmed cases on Nov. 17.

In addition to the continuing spread of COVID-19, there have been several cases of COVID-19 patients escaping isolation facilities, giving rise to concerns of a potential increase in the virus’reproduction rate.

The reproduction rate is expressed as the effective reproduction number (Rt), which represents the number of confirmed cases one person carrying the virus generates.

With that in mind, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Center of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (P2ET LIPI) has developed Si-Monic, a wearable contact tracing device, the first such device in Indonesia that has reportedly passed all necessary laboratory and functionality tests.

P2ET LIPI head Budi Prawara said in a statement that Si-Monic was an individual surveillance system for COVID-19 patients and suspected cases, as well as their close contacts.

Each Si-Monic device is fitted with a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chip that has a special identification number. 

It is designed to monitor the wearer’s movements from a central server through the Si-Monic application, available for downloading on Google Play Store, that constantly updates the wearer’s movements and status. The Si-Monic system will also notify health authorities if a wearer attempts to remove or deactivate the device.

The P2ET LIPI has teamed up with West Java Reseach and Development Agency (BP2D) to accelerate trials of the medical device research program in the province, which involves 20 devices worn by COVID-19 patients.

Budi said LIPI hoped that the West Java Si-Monic trials would help the device contribute to reducing the reproduction rate of COVID-19 in the province.

Read also: Researchers nearly finished with clinical trials for COVID-19 herbal medicines

LIPI has been pursuing several research projects to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, including two types of immune-boosting herbal medicines for COVID-19 patients.

The team developing the herbal medicines are led by LIPI and the Association of Indonesian Doctors for the Development of Traditional and Herbal Medicines (PDPOTJI), and successfully recruited its 90th and final clinical trials volunteer in August at the Wisma Atlet COVID-19 emergency hospital.

Earlier in June, LIPI announced that it had developed a high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC), a relatively noninvasive device for delivering supplementary oxygen to COVID-19 patients experiencing difficulty breathing.

“The [LIPI] HFNC is the first [of its type] to pass the standards of the Health Ministry’s health facility security office,” said LIPI researcher Agus Haryono.

Separately, LIPI researcher Hendri Maja Saputra said that the Gerlink LIPI High Flow Nasal Cannula-01 was effective in treating patients with early onset COVID-19 who were still able to breathe on their own. (jes)