As of 26 October 2020, IPC has performed more than 100,000 (one hundred thousand) COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests by RT-PCR in the Virology Unit. Those tests have contributed to the identification and/or confirmation of 287 (two hundred eighty seven) positive individuals reported by the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) to the World Health Organization (WHO) since the start of the pandemic.
IPC was prepared to test for COVID-19 by mid-January, 2020 and detected the first COVID-19 case on January 27th. In addition, IPC was integral in the response and testing of passengers from the MS Westerdam in February, 2020. In March 2020, scientists at IPC were able to successfully isolate the virus.
In April 2020, IPC received designation as WHO Global Referral Laboratory for COVID-19, a crucial role in addressing the public health risks emerging from COVID-19. In addition to routine molecular testing, IPC is also actively involved in global validation and verification of novel testing protocols and diagnostic kits for SARS-CoV-2, and in research projects facilitating the understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Molecular testing capacity continues to increase in Cambodia. The National Institute of Health (NIPH) began performing COVID-19 RT-PCR (one of the fastest and most accurate laboratory methods for detecting, tracking and studying the COVID-19 virus) in May 2020, and, most recently, the provincial hospital in Siem Reap began testing using Cepheid GenXpert technology. Additional laboratory capacities for COVID-19 tests are coming online soon, according to IPC.