Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Detection of Chikungunya pathogen easier

DETECTION of Chikungunya pathogen in the region has been made easier.

The Government of Canada’s Global Partnership Programme has donated a fully equipped Bio-safety Level 3 laboratory to Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean.

The facility also ensures that the agency is now better equipped to perform faster and safer detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks in the Region.

Handing over the laboratory, High Commissioner for Canada to Trinidad and Tobago, Gérard Latulippe, said, “In our modern age, disease knows no boundaries.”

He added that “isolated disease threats can very quickly become regional or global menaces, posing serious threats to the health, safety and security of people the world over”.

In this regard, the High Commissioner explained that this new laboratory is intended to strengthen biological security, biological safety and biological risk management across the Caribbean. He further indicated that the GPP works collaboratively at the “health-security interface” to address biological threats of shared concern and responsibility to health and security sectors.

Preventing outbreaks

Executive Director of CARPHA, Dr. C. James Hospedales, pointed out that the movement of international travellers, as well as the increased volume of global food trade, can facilitate rapid disease outbreaks among countries.

“Having the capacity to rapidly detect, diagnose and respond to disease outbreaks, natural or deliberate, is of paramount importance towards safeguarding our economies,” he said.

Dr. Hospedales indicated that “The new facility will in time allow us to strengthen surveillance and conduct operational research on this Chikungunya virus.”

Minister of Health of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Fuad Khan, also emphasised the importance of this facility upgrade, stating, “This first-class laboratory will enable us to be even better prepared for any emergencies that can be caused by pathogenic agents through early detection and enhanced response capabilities.”

He added that this is of significant importance to the Caribbean, even as we seek to combat diseases such as the recently detected Chikungunya virus. (JMB)

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