Indonesia’s Covid-19 response relies on going nuclear

Indonesia’s Covid-19 response relies on going nuclear

People wait for admission outside the emergency ward of a hospital tending to Covid-19 coronavirus patients in Surabaya on July 11, 2021. Photo: Juni Kriswanto/AFP

Nuclear weapons have the potential to kill millions of innocent people, putting the natural environment and future generations in jeopardy. Yet nuclear technology’s peaceful side has played a critical role in providing practical solutions to real-world challenges.

One of those benefits is the utilization of a nuclear-derived technology called real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR, to diagnose COVID-19. Unlike traditional RT-PCR, which only provides data at the conclusion of the process, the sensitive nuclear technology allows scientists to examine the results instantly while the procedure continues.

Indonesia has a remarkable leadership role and experience within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the organization promoting peaceful use of nuclear technology in coordination with the United Nations.

Real time RT-PCR technology has been promoted globally by the IAEA since June 2020 under its extra-budgetary initiative, The Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action, or ZODIAC. Indonesia could position itself as a key player in the use of this nuclear COVID-19 detection application by bolstering its multilateral diplomacy at the IAEA, with the goal of securing consensus among member states to optimize ZODIAC.

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