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Story | Research
3 April 2020

Health leader tells QF webinar of Qatar’s plans for rapid COVID-19 test kit

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Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al Thani: “The healthcare sector’s main mission at the moment is to control the spread of infection within the community.”

Qatar is aiming to introduce a “rapid test kit” that will accelerate its efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19, one of the country’s health leaders has told a Qatar Foundation webinar that focused on how infectious diseases may have an impact on the pandemic.

Photograph: Angel Soler Gollonet/Shutterstock

The webinar, part of Qatar National Research Fund’s (QNRF) Research Outcome Series, was led by Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Thani, Director of Public Health Department at Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health, who was accompanied by six scientists whose research projects were outlined during the online event.

Dr. Al Thani said: “The healthcare sector’s main mission at the moment is to control the spread of infection within the community.

We are currently focusing our efforts on the testing and isolating procedures, running approximately 2,000 tests a day.

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani

“We are currently focusing our efforts on testing and isolating procedures, running approximately 2,000 tests a day. We are also looking to introduce a rapid test kit in order to increase the numbers tested in a shorter space of time.

“We are receiving all the support we need from the proactive approach of the government to contain the situation, through enforcing strict surveillance policies to stop the spread among society and to maintain the healthcare capacity, which is crucial. This is why decisions were made such as suspending airlines, enforcing quarantine on all citizens returning to the country, and suspending schools and shops until further notice.”

Dr. Al Thani noted that the aim for the coming period is to have a research roadmap that will help contribute to the global efforts in fighting coronavirus. This includes putting a proactive operational plan in to place to help keep the situation under control, investing more in surveillance, continuing testing and isolating procedures, ensuring the safety of all citizens and residents, and raising awareness and educating people about COVID-19.

“We need to protect the country from being paralyzed during the isolation period. We are trying to keep a balance between ensuring people are protected and the productivity wheel is not interrupted in order to lower the economic impact as much as possible,” he said.

Dr. Al Thani also thanked Qatar’s scientific entities for coming together to further their research to support the current global crisis.

We understand the value and importance of conducting these scientific discussions at a time when researchers are needed to share the outcomes of their projects.

Dr. Mohammed H. Jarrar

The webinar discussion was moderated by Dr. Mohammed H. Jarrar, Senior Program Manager, Biomedical Science & Health, QNRF – a member of Qatar Foundation.

During the discussion, scientists presented the research outcomes of a number of projects focused on infectious diseases in conjunction with coronavirus, including the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS); viruses linked to hepatitis C and gastroenteritis; human papillomavirus; and communicable diseases between humans and animals.

Photograph: Viktorijapop/Shutterstock

“Despite all the challenges the world may currently be facing in the light of COVID-19, we are pleased to be organizing this new edition of our Research Outcome Seminar series in the form of a webinar,” said Dr. Jarrar.

“We understand the value and importance of conducting these scientific discussions at a time when researchers are needed to share the outcomes of their projects with the scientific community, stakeholders, and the public for the benefit of society.”

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