UAE set up massive coronavirus testing laboratory in 14 days: Science companies
The UAE will begin testing for coronavirus at a massive laboratory reportedly built in the country in just 14 days, according to a joint announcement on Tuesday by genomics company BGI and Group 42 (G42), the leading technology company based in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE already has already been testing people for coronavirus and has confirmed 611 cases in the country. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed visited the UAE's first drive-through testing site in Abu Dhabi this week, and the UAE is set to launch several more across the country in the coming days.
But according to the announcement by BGI and G42, this new laboratory - reportedly set up over two weeks in the UAE's Masdar City - will take testing in the UAE to a much larger scale.
BGI and Group 42 announced today the launch of a new massive-throughput laboratory built to address the need for population-scale detection and diagnosis of #covid19 in the United Arab Emirates. Read the press release: https://t.co/bKsqWRZCcL pic.twitter.com/Lmhkpi2f0i— BGI (@BGI_Genomics) March 31, 2020
"This high throughput lab provides the scale and firepower to enable all people in Abu Dhabi and the UAE to access the most reliable PCR tests, which are also provided by G42 in partnership with BGI. We thank the UAE leadership's support in protecting the health and wellbeing of the country's residents against this pandemic," said G42 President Peng Xiao.
According to the G42 website, the lab will use RT-PCR diagnostic kits developed by BGI. RT-PCR stands for "real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction(rRT-PCR) test," a form of tests which looks for the disease in specimens collected from respiratory tests. The diagnostic kits have received approvals from China (NMPA), Europe (CE-IVD), the United States (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Today, I visited the mobile COVID-19 Test Center set up by SEHA as part of measures to contain the virus. Medical teams out in the field are the first line of protection of the UAE, their sacrifices safeguard our health. pic.twitter.com/nrO0iCFr8t— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) March 28, 2020
“In such challenging times, we feel compelled to leverage our expertise, technological resources and international partnerships to bring rapid, accurate testing capabilities on a massive scale and bolster the detection efforts led by authorities,” he added.
G42 said the laboratory will prioritize testing specimens from the UAE and neighboring countries, without specifying which.
"Together with our partners at G42, we can bring the world’s best technology and experience in fighting global health threats to help the people of the UAE and beyond,” said Wang Jian, Co-founder and Chairman of BGI Group.