By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Malaysia Ministry of Health has reported one additional case of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the 17th case reported to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Center (CPRC) today.


The new case is a 65-year-old Malaysian citizen who is the mother-in-law of the Malaysian citizen case reported on February 4, 2020 (the 9th case). He has a number of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, paralysis, a pacemaker with limited mobility and movement. He had direct contact with the index case (9th case) while sitting at a table for a few Chinese New Year dinners with family members on January 26, 27 and 28, 2020.

He has now been admitted to the isolation ward at the Sungai Buloh Hospital and is in stable condition. Contact tracking activity is still ongoing.

With the addition of one (1) new case, the cumulative number of 2019-nCoV cases reported to date is 17; of which are seven (7) cases of 2019-nCoV Patient-Under-Investigation (PUI) cases, eight (8) cases of close contact and two (2) cases among Malaysians brought home by the Humanitarian Aid Mission. Of these, twelve (12) cases were Chinese and five (5) were Malaysian citizens.

Laboratory Readiness

In the early stages, the Virology Unit, Center for Infectious Disease Research, Institute of Medical Research (IMR), Ministry of Health Malaysia was the only laboratory involved in conducting diagnostic tests detecting 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) at Malaysia. The laboratory began preparations for any possible 2019-nCoV transmission to Malaysia on January 3, 2020 where reagents for coronavirus were detected using Conventional RT-PCR method.

Image/Robert Herriman

But on January 11, 2020, scientists from China shared 2019-nCoV genetic information in a shared database. This allowed officials from the IMR Virology Unit to create a reagent sequence known as “primers and probes specific for 2019-nCoV” on the same day. A few days later, the World Health Organization (WHO) also released a protocol for real-time RT9-PCR testing of 2019-nCoV and the protocol is almost identical to that used in IMR.

The reagent to identify 2019-nCoV arrived at the IMR lab on January 21, 2020 and at the same time, the University of Malaya Medical Center (PPUM) shared a virus belonging to the same family as the 2019-nCoV deactivated, to be used as a positive control .

Officials from IMR successfully conducted the RT9 PCR real-time RT-PCR test on January 22, 2020, and the reagent was supplied to the Sungai Buloh National Public Health Laboratory on January 24, 2020 to test contact samples in Johor allowing for the first case identification positive in close contact. On January 25, 2020, the IMR lab also detected a positive first case of Patient-Under-Investigation (PUI).

On January 30, 2019, the IMR also conducted the 2019-nCoV real-time RT-PCR test for 12 MOH hospitals including MKAK Sungai Buloh, MKA Ipoh, MKA Kota Kinabalu, MKA Kota Bahru and MKA Johor Bahru to enable real-time RT testing. -PCR 2019-nCoV is being expanded throughout Malaysia. This capacity will also be extended to a network of private laboratories through training conducted by MKAK Sungai Buloh on February 6, 2020.