PETALING JAYA: The production of Covid-19 vaccines through a global integrated effort show that scientists play a crucial role in the application of knowledge and technology in decision-making based on science, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

“The pandemic has greatly changed the way we go about our daily lives but at the same time, it has prompted us to apply science and technology creatively and innovatively.

“Integrated efforts among scientists globally have seen the production of the Covid-19 vaccine in a very short time.

“This proves that scientists play an important role in the application of knowledge and technology, especially in new fields like artificial intelligence, big data analysis and blockchain to make critical decisions based on facts and information,” he said at the launch of the 15th International Symposium on Radiation Physics (ISRP-15) at Sunway University yesterday.

About 300 participants from 44 countries joined the symposium physically and virtually.

Also present were the university president, Prof Sibrandes Poppema, ISRP-15 chairman and International Radiation Physics Society president Prof Emeritus Dr David A. Bradley and Malaysian Nuclear Agency director-general Siti A’iasah Hashim.

Khairy also noted that X-ray technology reached Malaysia soon after its discovery by Rontgen in December 1895, with the X-ray apparatus first used in Taiping in February 1897.

“Because of their immense usefulness, radiation technology was quickly adopted worldwide and has had a profound impact on the way we live, diagnose illnesses and help people get better health outcomes.

“The ability of radiation medicine to deliver the needs of society is a case in point, with a detailed understanding of the radiations, safety in application and a clear desire of our scientists and technologists working with others around the world, to excel and seek further breakthroughs,” he said.

He said the ISRP series was being hosted in Malaysia for the second time out of a total of 15 meetings over the past few decades.

“It speaks volumes about our presence on the international stage,” he said.

As one of the earliest adopters of X-ray technology, Khairy hoped the Malaysian healthcare system would stay ahead in the curve of change “as we see more disruption and more technology augmenting radiation physics”.