Kuwat’s Discovery

Dahlan Iskan former Minister of State-Owned Enterprises

IO – What has been found by ITB is getting better. Now, followed by UGM – which discovered a new way to test COVID-19 that also has received a distribution permit from the Ministry of Health. Means it has been tested. More than 1,000 Salman-ITB ventilators have been produced; they are getting perfected, too. This means they can be accepted in the market. “Panasonic has asked for permission to participate in the production,” said Hari Tjahyono, an ITB alumnus who joined the ventilator team. “We already approved,” he added. Even the Salman-ITB team went to a higher level: HFNC, high flow nasal cannula. A ventilator with the ability to input greater oxygen also has received a distribution permit from the Ministry of Health.

Indeed, the process of creating. Started imperfect, then it got better. It would be disastrous if at the beginning of the process they had been berated.

What the UGM team found was even more proud – albeit it came out later. The findings could address many things: the need for more tests, speed and an affordable price. Founder: a physics lecturer from MIPA-UGM: Prof. Dr. Kuwat Triyana, assisted by Dr. Dian Kesumapramudya Nur Putra. The UGM COVID test does not use the liquid from the nose nor the throat; there is also no need for reagents. It does not last long either. In less than five minutes, results become evident. A new method, indeed. Using a new technology. The inventor was not even a doctor, and it uses physical principles. It tests the air from the breath – the method: blow air from the mouth into a plastic bag. “It is a special plastic bag,” claimed

Prof. Kuwat when I called yesterday. “The air in the plastic bag is what we put into the GeNose device,” he added. The air will enter the computer, connected with artificial intelligence and a cloud. The computer will analyze it fast; then results come out.

I intentionally contacted Prof. Kuwat yesterday. To say congratulations, and salute and proud.

Prof Kuwat is from a village. His house was originally 10 kilometers north of Boyolali City, Central Java. He graduated from SMAN 1 Boyolali; then, he continued his studies at UGM. Prof. Kuwat is known to have a lot of heavy research. After graduating from UGM, Kuwat continued to ITB. With the thesis “Prototype of Pattern Recognition System in Electronic Nose Base on Artificial Neural Network”. From ITB, Kuwat continued his doctoral program in Japan. To Kyushu University. With the dissertation: Heterojunction Organic Photovoltaic Based on Phthalocyanine and Perylene.

His research group is in the materials physics, nose and mouth electronics, and instrumentation group.

Prof. Kuwat always invited this one doctor along for every study: Doctor Dian. Initially, I thought Dr. Dian was a woman. It was a boy. It can be seen from his last name: Dian Kesumapramudya Nur Putra, which in Indonesian means son. He is a pediatrician. Tremendously clever. Kuwat-Dian’s first research was on tuberculosis, oral infections, and narcotic diseases. Started in 2016 and continues until the present.

Then there’s research in an even more pressing area: polio paralysis. Which usually only gets caught

by adults. Then it can’t be helped. “Even though it should have been known since the patients were children,” said Prof. Kuwat.

When there is a pandemic, research is also directed at COVID-19. With the help of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN). Until now.

In the testing process, GeNose was cross-checked with the PCR system. Those who were negative on GeNose were also negative on PCR. Vice versa. With a similar percentage of more than 92 percent.

Prof. Kuwat’s discovery will solve many things. Imagine, 5 minutes finished. Imagine, it only costs around IDR 35,000. So cheap compared to PCR which is hundreds of thousands of Rupiah. Even after vaccination later. Still of great benefit. For bus terminals, train stations, ports, and especially at airports.

That  can  help  overcome  the threat  of  the  second  wave  of COVID19  –  if  any.  There  is  currently too much transmission from people  without  symptoms.  Even though  that  person  might  have been infected by COVID-19; they just don’t show symptoms, but it’s still very contagious.

That is a problem everywhere in the world today. Including in China. People without symptoms transmit COVID-19.

Prof Kuwat’s findings can help overcome this. Precisely because they are practical, cheap, and fast. Why is the name GeNose?

“Previously I gave the name e-Nose. Electronic-Nose. When it was still for TB, and not yet uses for Covid-19,” said Prof. Kuwat. “Additional G is because this is Gadjah Mada,” he said.

But how strong is Prof Kuwat? “My father is a farmer. Initially, he only named me Riyono,” said Prof. Kuwat. Then, when he was in elementary school, he often fought, and he always won. Riyono was considered very strong. So when he graduated from elementary school, on the certificate written the name: Kuwat Triyana (read: Triyono), to match his strength because Kuwat in Indonesian means strong. In that era, in a village, it’s a common thing (to change birthname). Especially if there are several students with the same name. It turned out that Kuwat was indeed strong.

Physicists like Prof. Kuwat and pediatricians like Dian have recorded works of national pride.