The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) announced that the National Reference Laboratory will operate starting from August 2020 to coordinate activities related to laboratory tests and experiments between governmental, industrial and academic bodies in the country and to support national efforts in the field of surveillance and preparedness for possible outbreaks of infectious diseases.
The National Reference Laboratory will be implemented in three phases. The first phase will see the creation of the COVID-19 unit of the national laboratory in Sidra Medicine building.
The project management is currently working on attracting and recruiting qualified laboratory experts and clinical scientists, in addition to volunteers, and fresh graduates from Qatar University in the field of Biomedical Sciences.
An effective national laboratory will contribute to strengthening the national capabilities to conduct the Coronavirus (COVID-19) test, and will ensure the State's ability to cope with the current and emerging infectious diseases that pose a threat to human and animal health.
The creation of reference laboratory comes within the framework of the Ministry of Public Health's keenness on ensuring the country's readiness and availability of resources in a better way to deal with the return of many residents from abroad, and to employ the new workforce and travelers, in addition to the resources necessary to ensure the safety of food and live animals entering the country.
Professor Sheikha Asma Al-Thani, Professor of Virology and Director of Biomedical Research Center at Qatar University, was appointed as a consultant to the National Reference Laboratory team.
Professor Sheikha Asma Al-Thani said she was proud to be part of this initiative that supports the efforts of the State of Qatar in monitoring and investigating outbreaks through coordinating laboratory experiment activities between governmental, industrial and academic bodies.
She also praised Sidra Medicine for providing a headquarters for the COVID-19 unit of the National Reference Laboratory in Sidra Medicine building and providing the necessary infrastructure and logistical support.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced COVID-19 as a global pandemic. There are currently 3,110 active cases in Qatar out of a total of 109,880 cases that have contracted the disease since the start of the epidemic. Lab facilities played an important role in early detection of cases, a matter which confirms the importance of strengthening the ability to carry out the necessary tests in order to effectively combat the pandemic.
Source: Qatar News Agency
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