New coronavirus: Fiocruz, Ministry of Health of Brazil and PAHO provide training in laboratory diagnosis in nine countries

7 Feb 2020
Fiocruz training

Brasilia, 7 February 2020 (PAHO) - Experts from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) provided training on laboratory diagnosis of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on February 6 and 7 for specialists from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

During the activity, the participants carried out a practical exercise of molecular detection of 2019-nCoV and received diagnostic materials (primers and positive controls), in addition to reviewing and discussing the main tests and protocols available.

PAHO’s representative in Brazil, Socorro Gross, said this type of training is essential so that countries in the Americas have the necessary knowledge to perform early diagnosis of 2019-nCoV following WHO protocols.

“In a globalized world like ours, diseases do not remain in one country. The response to these diseases must therefore be shared. That way, we can respond faster, with more force and protect the entire population of the Americas”
Socorro Gross

Jairo Méndez, PAHO/WHO Regional Advisor for Viral Diseases, stressed the importance of working together to prevent transmission of the new coronavirus. “What we are doing here is a good example of how to respond to emergencies. Together we can ensure a more effective response.”

Fiocruz President Nísia Trindade said the training will also facilitate joint work in other areas, such as surveillance. "We want to continue our technical cooperation, not as donors or recipients but building knowledge together and exchanging experiences."

Brazil’s Secretary of Health Surveillance, Wanderson Oliveira, said that Brazil has proven capacity in surveillance, which is a source of reassurance for Brazilian society. “So far we do not have a confirmed case [of 2019-nCoV] in Brazil, but that means nothing. We will have [imported] cases. And this will not be a problem, because we have the ability to detect, monitor and respond to cases in a timely manner.”

Central America and the Caribbean

Next week, PAHO will conduct similar training in Mexico City in conjunction with Mexico’s Secretariat of Health and the Institute of Diagnosis and Epidemiological Reference (InDRE).

Specialists from all Central American countries (except Panama, which participated in the training in Brazil), as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic have been invited to participate. The Pan American Health Organization has also provided training in 2019-nCoV laboratory diagnosis in Caribbean countries.