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 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Corona Virus (MERS-CoV). A model that is shaped by collaboration between concerned partners, and driven by the “one health” approach.
Additionally, the symposium 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 diseases control aligned with the highest international standards in collaboration with relevant partners.”
Al Hajeri added, “The collaboration between the Department of Health, ADFCA and CDC, working closely together in the regulations, policies, research and implementation of programs was 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 Veterinary Laboratories Division of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (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 of diseases that transmit from animals to humans.
Through its veterinary laboratories, ADFCA has been keen to speed up the activation of diagnostic tests detecting corona virus in camels, since the emergence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Al Muhairi noted. 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 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) cases has dropped significantly in the last 3 years by 89.4%.