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August 17, 2020 | Biomolecular

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has dispatched testing equipment to 120 member states around the world, supporting the rapid detection of COVID-19 in countries such as Peru, Cambodia and Syria. We at Bio Molecular Systems are proud to have contributed 120 of our Mic magnetic induction cyclers to these equipment packages.

Mic qPCR equipment being produced

Mic qPCR equipment being produced on the Gold Coast in April 2020, before being distributed to countries worldwide to help fight COVID-19. Photo Credit: IAEA

120 countries have requested IAEA support in using the nuclear-derived technique known as real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (real time RT-PCR), enabling the accurate detection of COVID-19 infections within a matter of hours. This global initiative has support from one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, which has pledged a contribution of 500 million yen (around €4.35 million).

What’s included in the testing packages?

Each COVID-19 package dispatched from the IAEA to its member states has included a range of equipment. This includes real time RT-PCR equipment and kits, reagents and laboratory consumables, and personal protection equipment for the safe handling of samples. Kits include items from multiple suppliers, including our Mic real time PCR thermal cyclers with help from our distributors in Germany and Austria.

heavy duty case

Giovanni Cattoli, Laboratory Head, Animal Production and Health Laboratory, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, checks two of the three packages ready to be sent to assist Member States to fight COVID-19. Photo Credit: Dean Calma / IAEA


The challenge of distribution

Delivery of these COVID-19 packages has been a logistical challenge due to travel limitations, irregular cargo flights, reduced operations and lowered staffing across the globe. As such IAEA has been working with the United Nations World Food Programme, with the aim of using their logistic hubs to aid delivery.

As of the end of May, packages have reached 41 destinations in Africa, 27 in Asia and the Pacific, 22 in Europe and Central Asia and 30 in Latin America and the Caribbean. You can read more about the initiative in The Report on IAEA Support to Member State Efforts in Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic, and explore further photos of these testing kits being received in Peru, Burkina Faso, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latvia, Jordan, Romania, Chile and the Dominican Republic.

mic with pair of women

Dr. Maribel Huaringa at the National Institute of Health in Peru, receiving the RT-PCR cycler. Photo Credit: National Reference Laboratory for Respiratory Viruses, National Institute of Health (INS) and the Ministry of Health, Peru

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Mrs Hoang thi Diep, staff from the Lab Virus Division, National Centre for Veterinary Diagnostics (NCVD), with COVID-19 equipment donated by the IAEA to Viet Nam. Photo Credit: National Centre for Veterinary Diagnostics

mic with pair of people

H. E. Mr. Martin Parfait Aime, Coussoud-Mavoungou, Minister of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation, hands over the RT-PCR equipment donated by the IAEA to H. E. Ms. Jacqueline Lydia Mikolo, Minister of Health and Population. Congo Brazza, 10 June 2020. Photo Credit: Euphrasie Sosthene Milandou, Ministry of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation

How else is the IAEA providing assistance during COVID-19?

The IAEA is providing support to member countries in a number of ways.
Together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Agency has provided guidance to 253 lab professionals for COVID-19 detection through the VETLAB network. The IAEA has also been conducting webinars to help health care providers adjust their work procedures to the pandemic environment, as applicable across medicine, radiology and radiation oncology. The IAEA has also launched an initiative called Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) which will support the monitoring, surveillance, early detection and control of animal and zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19. The IAEA previously worked with 39 African countries to help identify cases of the Ebola virus, and various Latin American and Caribbean countries to help identify cases of the Zika virus.

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COVID-19 equipment donated by the IAEA received by staff at the Hospital Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 11 May 2020. Photo Credit: Communication Office of University Clinical Center. Photo Credit: Communication Office of University Clinical Center

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COVID-19 equipment arrives at the Central Laboratories at the Ministry of Health, Jordan. Photo Credit: Central Laboratories

How is Mic being used to help combat COVID-19?
Mic is our patented magnetic induction PCR machine, and it’s a compact and scalable solution that’s ideal for portable or permanent lab use. Mic provides outstanding reliability, reproducibility and accuracy thanks to its magnetic induction technology, which heats samples more consistently. You can plug-and-play for simple installation and complete a run within 40 minutes. With these features, it’s no surprise that over 1,000 of these units have already been put into use to help test for COVID-19 in 2020 – including in mobile, remote and decentralised laboratories.

Mic is available in over 100 countries worldwide. To experience the Mic cycler for yourself, simply book a demo and one of our distributors will be in touch to send a Mic to you for a two-week trial.