UHAS Appreciates Ghana Atomic Energy Commission for Upgrade of COVID-19 Testing Capacity

The University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) has extended its appreciation to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the logistic support to beef up its capacity in the fight against the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

 

As part of an initiative by the IAEA to help its Member States to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of laboratories around the world have been presented with a nuclear-derived testing technique called real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (real-time RT-PCR). This method is currently adjudged by scientists as the fastest and most accurate for the detection of the SARS-COV-2 virus, which is causing COVID-19.

UHAS through the efforts of GAEC on May 14, 2020, took delivery of a € 98,000 Euros worth of COVID -19 testing equipment donated to Ghana by the IAEA. The items include a COVID-19 Positive control, MIC-PCR System, Eurofins Genomics, MIC-4, TaqMan Fast Virus Master Mix, Class III Biohazard Safety Cabinet, and a Class II Biological Safety Cabinet, PCR workstation.

In a follow-up visit to UHAS, a delegation from GAEC on behalf of the IAEA met with the university’s COVID-19 select team to observe the extent of work done regarding equipment installation and use of donated items.

Prof. John Owusu Gyapong, Vice-Chancellor of UHAS, in a brief meeting with the GAEC delegation, disclosed that his outfit is able to deliver results of samples received from the Volta and Oti regions within a period of 24 to 48 hours. According to him, this has eliminated the worrying backlog situation in the regions. “Initially we had 16 wells for sample processing and receiving an additional 48 wells has fast-tracked the process. Additionally, over 12000 samples have been tested and this has been made possible partly due to the donation by IAEA and we are very grateful,”  he added. Prof. Gyapong appealed to the IAEA and GAEC to further support the University of Health and Allied Sciences with a -80oC freezer that would beef up their sample storage capacity since they are faced with difficulties managing the storage of their samples.

On behalf of Prof. B.J.B Nyarko, Director-General of GAEC, Dr. Shiraz Issahaku, Research Scientist and Dr. Adolf Kofi Awua, Senior Research Scientist and Centre Manager with the GAEC Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI) expressed utmost satisfaction at the extent of work done by UHAS.

 

Dr. Issahaku acknowledged that IAEA is a UN Agency, and part of its objective is to ensure that Member States benefit from this type of initiative during pandemics of this proportion. He added that the IAEA has been of immense support to Ghana in the areas of training and capacity building programs as well as the donation of high-level equipment to facilitate research works in the fields of Health, Nuclear Science, and Biotechnology.

After an extensive tour of the laboratories, Dr. Adolf Kofi Awua on his part commended Dr. Kwabena Duedu, Biomedical Laboratory Scientist in Charge of the COVID 19 testing Centre who doubled as the Coordinator of the UHAS COVID-19 team and also Prof Richard Harry Asmah, Dean of the School of Basic and Biomedical Sciences and the entire team for living up to expectation.

He finally encouraged the UHAS team to keep up the good work till Ghana wins the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

By: GAEC Multimedia/TTMC