Abu Dhabi a global model in controlling MERS-CoV

ABU DHABI, The Department of Health in presence and collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, ADFCA, and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, of the USA recently arranged a symposium on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus, MERS-CoV.

This symposium featured a series of Abu Dhabi-based exclusive studies on MERS-CoV for further discussion, presenting a leading global model for controlling and managing communicable diseases especially for the syndrome, a model that is shaped by collaboration between concerned partners and driven by the “one health” approach.

The symposium also saw discussions on the worldwide surveillance of MERS-CoV and aimed to enhance its knowledge and future steps.

Dr. Omniyat Al Hajeri, Director of Public Health and Research Division at DoH said, “As part of its efforts to achieve its vision ‘towards a healthier Abu Dhabi,’ the Department of Health continues its ongoing work to protect the community from communicable diseases and reduce its spread in the emirate. Thus, DoH ensures the implementation of the best practices in the communicable disease controls aligned with the highest international standards in collaboration with relevant partners.

“The collaboration between the Department of Health, ADFCA and CDC, working closely together in the regulations, policies, research and implementation of programmes not only resulted in the positive improvement of public health and prevention of MERS-CoV, but extended to come up with exclusive studies and researches done on MERS-CoV in the emirate, taking the chance today to present them at the symposium, to benefit the world.”

Dr. Salama Al Muhairi, Director of the Veterinary Laboratories Division at ADFCA, stressed the importance of the authority’s diagnostic labs in protecting animals from endemic and emerging diseases, as well as mitigating their impact. She added that ADFCA’s labs have actively contributed to controlling and responding to outbreaks of trans-boundary, zoonotic and emerging animal diseases. Furthermore, these laboratories also contributed to developing the animal sector in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and improving human health indirectly by controlling diseases that transmit from animals to humans.

Through its veterinary laboratories, ADFCA has been keen to speed up the activation of diagnostic tests detecting coronavirus in camels, since the emergence of MERS-CoV. During the examinations, the RNA of the virus is being detected using real-time PCR technology, the globally approved test, she added.

Al Muhairi pointed out that this method has significantly contributed to containing the spread of MERS-CoV, adding that the authority has developed a rapid test to detect the virus in camels within only 20 minutes, which is a record time when compared with other laboratory tests Based on the Department of Health statistics, the rate of MERS-CoV cases has dropped significantly in the last three years by 89.4 percent.

Source: Emirates News Agency