Singapore lab well-prepared to diagnose and handle Ebola virus: Ng Eng Hen

An audience member photographs a slide showing the likeness of an Ebola virus during an Ebola safety presentation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Nov 7, 2014, in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP 
An audience member photographs a slide showing the likeness of an Ebola virus during an Ebola safety presentation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Nov 7, 2014, in Los Angeles, California. -- PHOTO: AFP 

SINGAPORE - A Singapore laboratory that tests for Ebola is well-prepared to diagnose and handle the virus if it reaches the Republic's shores, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Friday.

During a visit to the DSO National Laboratories, designated by the Health Ministry as the national testing facility for the Ebola virus, Dr Ng said he is reassured by the facility's capabilities.

The research outfit has so far tested two Ebola virus samples, which have both turned out to be negative. The world's worst outbreak of Ebola has killed some 6,000 people in West Africa so far, with doctors and scientists racing to develop an effective vaccine against it.

Noting that the lab's researchers and scientists were the same people who screened for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) as well as the H1N1 and H7N9 influenza viruses, Dr Ng said: "They dealt with hundreds of specimens and thankfully as a testimony of their professionalism, there were no breaks of protocol.

"There was no outbreak from the lab. It was kept to very high standards," he added.