Coronavirus: Meet the ‘virus hunters’ working 24/7 in the fight against the outbreak

They call them Thailand’s “virus hunters” – a team of specialist scientists who identify emerging diseases.

Since January, the group of 20 experts from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre have had one main mission – to help the government detect the new coronavirus.

It’s a 24/7 operation and 1,500 specimens have already been analysed at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok since last month.

They range from repeat screenings of positive cases to any of the people patients may have been in contact with.

Pic: Montakan Tanchaisawat/USAID
Image:The Thai government has said it is confident it is able to control the situation in Thailand. Pic: Montakan Tanchaisawat/USAID

So far, of the 25 people in the country who have tested positive for the virus, nine have already been discharged from hospital.

As we stand outside one of the dedicated laboratories, more samples arrive in white boxes with bright biohazard labels.

They are carefully unpacked and catalogued before being brought into another lab where the scientists are dressed in hazmat suits.