ADAFSA laboratories join WHO coronavirus network

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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ADAFSA laboratories joins WHO Network
Rep. Image | Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Media Office

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

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 characterization 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.

Asmaa Abdi Mohamed, Director of Biosecurity Affairs at ADAFSA, said that, “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. 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.”

Abdi Mohamed noted that, “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 further added that the 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.

ADAFSA laboratories are distinguished by their status as a reference center recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) in the field of camel diseases and as a collaborating reference center in quality management. The centers aim to place the UAE in a prominent position globally and support its role in promoting animal health and biosecurity at local, regional, and international levels.

The reference centers help to enable the diagnosis of animal diseases, create and build national capacity and expertise in the field of camel diseases, bridge the knowledge gap by intensifying and deepening scientific research and investigating puzzling disease phenomena, and achieve global leadership in the diagnosis of camel diseases.

The ADAFSA reference centers 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.

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