Abu Dhabi labs join WHO group to help world monitor evolution of COVID-19

The ADAFSA reference centres use gene sequencing and virus isolation in cell culture, among other techniques
Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority’s (ADAFSA) laboratories have joined the World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Network of Reference Laboratories.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

WHO established the Global Network of Reference Laboratories (CoViNet) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The network aims to facilitate the exchange of expertise and enhance global capacity for the early and accurate detection, surveillance, and genetic and phenotypic characterisation of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), MERS-CoV (the virus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), and other emerging coronaviruses of public health importance.

The ADAFSA reference centres are equipped with the latest technology and modern diagnostic techniques including molecular biology techniques, gene sequencing, bioinformatics and virus isolation in cell culture. The techniques enable the early detection and identification of unknown, epidemic or emerging pathogens.

read more

Non-stop vigilance

Asmaa Abdi Mohamed, Director of Biosecurity Affairs at ADAFSA, said: “The participation of ADAFSA laboratories in CoViNet supports the monitoring of the evolution of coronaviruses at the international level and helps to increase preparedness and precautionary measures.”

He added: “It also supports the process of continuous risk assessment to study the evolution of coronaviruses, which enhances surveillance and proactive capabilities for early detection of any new pandemic. In addition, it reinforces the UAE’s efforts to combat communicable, zoonotic and emerging diseases and their prevention, and to prevent, contain and eradicate endemic and transboundary biosecurity threats and risks.”

The director continued: “Membership in the network provides an opportunity to collaborate with institutions and experts from around the world to conduct research and contribute to innovation in the field of coronavirology. This confirms the UAE’s global position in the field of scientific research related to virology.”