Nuclear energy plays an important role in combating coronavirus epidemic around the world, as it enables doctors to accurately detect the virus within hours in humans, as well as in animals.
A diagnostic technique, with the help of nuclear technology, is called Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR).
RT-PCR technology determines gene expression related to DNA repair, cell cycle, and cell death from ionising radiation. This technology can also clarify how the virus is transmitted.
To ensure broad use of RT-PCR to reduce the coronavirus spread, the IAEA will partake in the current emergency facing the world, by providing personal protective equipment, diagnostic reagents, laboratory consumables, biosafety safes, and RT-PCRs to countries with where the virus is spreading, including Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The agency’s role is not only limited to providing tools but also includes providing necessary training related to biosafety procedures.
Already 14 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean have requested assistance in this context.
Within two weeks, the first training course on detection techniques will be held at the IAEA/FAO Animal Production and Animal Health Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria. The raining will witness the participation of medical and veterinary experts from Cambodia, the Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.