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Fiocruz and PAHO promote training for diagnosis of the novel coronavirus


Vinicius Ferreira (IOC/Fiocruz)


Starting this week, Brazil will gain a weight boost in the national response to a possible introduction of the novel coronavirus (Covid-2019) in the country. Together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), specialists from the Laboratory of Respiratory And Measles Virus of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz), which acts as the National Reference Center in Respiratory Viruses for the Ministry of Health, promoted the training of professionals from the Evandro Chagas Institute and the Adolfo Lutz Institute for the laboratory diagnosis of the pathogen.

Together with Opas, an IOC specialist promotes training for regional reference centers (photo: Josué Damacena, IOC / Fiocruz)

Up to date, two samples were collected from each individual with suspected infection by the new coronavirus. While one was directed to the Central Laboratory of Public Health of the state where the patient was hospitalized, the other was referred for analysis in the Fiocruz laboratory. "This training represents a very important step in the response of the Brazilian surveillance system in the face of a possible national health emergency. Support from the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization will enable the decentralization of the diagnosis and, consequently, agility in the investigation of cases", signaled virologist Fernando Motta, researcher at the Laboratory of Respiratory Virus and Measles at the IOC/Fiocruz.

The activity, carried out on the end of January (30th and 31st), was attended by the regional advisor for Viral Diseases of PAHO/WHO, Jairo Méndez. The specialist acted directly in the establishment of infection diagnostic protocols. "Brazil has one of the most solid and prepared surveillance networks in respiratory viruses in Latin America. The training of the Brazilian network was the first step towards the implementation of the specific diagnosis in Latin American countries"," Jairo said, alluding to the training of technical teams from Countries in the Southern Cone under PAHO representation that will be carried out in the February 6th and 7th.

At the time, PAHO's aide passed on specific inputs to the Laboratory for real-time RT-PCR diagnosis of the new coronavirus, capable of detecting the viral genome.

The training of regional reference services was closely monitored by the General Coordination of Laboratories (CGLAB/SVS/MS), through the responsible for respiratory viruses of the paste, Miriam Teresinha Livorati. "The accumulated experience of the Brazilian reference network is our strong point. The exchange of experience is very large and the professionals very competent. CGLAB is giving all the necessary support for activities to be improved for accurate diagnosis of the new virus," he said.

Adolfo Lutz Institute research assistant Margarete Benega highlighted the key point of training. "The goal is to have the alignment of the information for a faster response to society." The researcher at the Evandro Chagas Institute, Mirleide Santos, emphasized the experience of the network. "Our exchange of knowledge will enable the response of suspicious cases from anywhere in Brazil."

The IOC/Fiocruz Respiratory Virus and Measles Laboratory has been part of the World Health Organization (WHO) network of national Influenza centers for more than 60 years and played a strategic role in seeking answers in public health emergency episodes, as the frontline performance in outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and 2003 of Influenza A (H1N1), in 2009, and Ebola, in 2015.

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