Marking yet another milestone in the journey forward, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) represented by Al Wathba Veterinary Laboratory has marked yet another mile stone, first of its kind in the world, by developing the technique to detect Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) in camels, within just 20 minutes.
While referring to the new achievement, Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, Director of Communication & Community Service Division said, ADFCA has been always keen on following strategies that contribute in achieving biosecurity by ensuring health and productivity of animal wealth as well as food security and safety with a resultant of protection of human.
The achievement set by the Al Wathba vet lab, detecting MERS-CoV within 20 minutes applying Rapid Screening Test, comes as result of ADFCA's committed efforts to become among the group of government entities that go in tune with latest scientific knowledge and technology, he said.
He revealed that the new system would be available in all laboratories under ADFCA, soon and that the plans are underway as well to introduce the new technology to other laboratories in the UAE.
Explaining more on future plans in this regard Mr. Al Rayssi said, Veterinary laboratories Division at ADFCA has now been assigned with providing technical support and training to other laboratories in the country.
Also, he said, the Veterinary Laboratory Division has prepared plans to carry out a detailed study to develop set of requirements needed for qualifying the laboratories in the field of MERS-CoV testing.
‘Given the lead Al Wathba laboratory having now in the Corona Virus testing, Mr. Al Rayssi continued, ‘it can be acknowledged as a Referral Lab for any other laboratories in the country".
He added saying that the country is in a pressing need for a referral center in MERS-CoV test in camels, and for this purpose, ADFCA is now in constant communications with Ministry of Environment& Water to find out possibilities of escalating Al Wathba Laboratory to that position.
From her side, Dr. Salama Suhail, Director of Veterinary Laboratories Division said, from the very beginning, when the first MERS-CoV cases were reported, Al Wathba Laboratory had started working on confirming infection at a more faster pace by detecting RNA of the Virus using Real-Time PCR technology, the globally acclaimed one.
She said, Al Wathba is the only vet lab in the UAE that applies this method of sample analysis which is approved by the international laboratories as well as is in line with the terms stipulated by OIE- World Organization of Animal Health.
According to Dr. Salama, so far more than 23,000 samples have been tested at the laboratory to find out possible MERS-CoV infection.
Laboratories affiliated with ADFCA are accredited by United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) with ISO/IEC 17025, she added.
She hoped that the laboratories in the region may greatly benefit from the Rapid Screening Test system developed by ADFCA as the time needed for the sample analysis- the focal part of the Al Wathba Lab's achievement- is a crucial element in early detection of the virus which all health machineries need to effectively check the disease.