BY JEFFREY ELAPA – PNG TokStret | 30 October 2020.
One of PNG’s senior medical researchers and the former director of the PNG Institute of Medical Research Professor Peter Siba said the medical and scientific team claiming to find a treatment for Covid-19 “is a fuss and will never happen”.
Prof Siba, the country’s senior virologist and now director for the center for health research and diagnostic center at Divine Word University in Madang said that the process of finding a cure for any diseases is a very long process that requires established medical testing sites and processes.
He said like all drugs, the Covid-19 cure must be trialed first, and then it must also be given medical and scientific clearance.
He added that the cure must be vetted and approved by the ethical and the medial professional organizations and it should not be given a blessing based on a presentation before a group of key ministers of government that have no medical and scientific background.
The senior researcher said there must also be a medical clearance given by the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee and should be presented to and in front of the specialist medical and scientific forum and not an overnight process as claimed by the group from NiuginiBioMed Limited, a group that was registered and formed in August this year.
He said so much money is being parked into Covid-19 and the K10.2 million is a lot of money to be given to a small organization that formed overnight when that kind of money should have been publicly tendered for the medical research organizations to bid for to research into the treatment.
“We have the organization with the facilities and expertise to do it. However unknown group raises a lot of questions of credentials. I do not see any influential and well-known researchers on the board. How long have they been in the research field and what testing and research sites and facilities do they have?” he asked.
Prof Siba said the best way forward is for the government to put out the K10 million on tender and have established research organizations that have the facilities, the testing sites, the partnership, and collaboration with an international organization and international reputation to bid and find the cure.
“This is an unknown group (NiuginiBioMed Limited) that popped up overnight. It is a laughing stock and outsiders will laugh at us. We should have used reputable organizations that have collaboration and partnerships like the Institute of Medical Research and the UPNG medical School.
“As a senior medical researcher I see this as a total fuss, and it will never happen and it’s a waste of big money on an unknown group that popped up overnight,” he said. He said the intention is good but we should do it properly and get the government to support it.
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