April 4, 2016 By Ausine Sesay
Although no case of the Zika Virus is yet to be reported in Sierra Leone, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Zhao Yanbo, has confirmed that the China-Sierra Leone Friendship Bio-safety Laboratory was now capable of detecting the deadly virus.
According to Ambassador Zhao, since the first report of the Zika virus in Brazil in 2015, over 20 nations have reported cases of the disease. “Therefore, the China CDC promptly developed a diagnostic re-agent, which has successfully diagnosed 10 imported cases in China by the method of fluorescent quantitation PCR, which tests the nuclear acid of the virus,” he said.
Ambassador Zhao said the China-Sierra Leone Friendship Bio-safety Laboratory contributed significantly to the fight against the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.
“It has tested over ten thousand samples since its official launch in March 2015. With the existing capacity of virus detection, the laboratory is now fully prepared to expand its boundary of experiment to a higher level of disease prevention and control in the post-Ebola period of Sierra Leone, in cohesion with the WHO,” Ambassador Yanbo said.
Ambassador Zhao maintained that because the Zika virus spreads through mosquitoes, Sierra Leone was susceptible to threat of imported cases, adding that through request by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the China CDC has already equipped the laboratory with Zika virus diagnostic re-agent and detection capacity.
Ambassador Zhao concluded that apart from the Zika virus detection, the laboratory plans to start detecting other tropical infectious diseases, such as yellow fever.
“This laboratory is committed to elevating the capacity of disease control and public health in Sierra Leone,” he re-affirmed.