UCT launches molecular epidemiology laboratory to reduce avian influenza diagnosis time in La Araucaña > UCT

As a result of the implementation of this laboratory, the analysis time of avian influenza samples that must be sent to Santiago for diagnosis will be reduced, allowing health authorities to make decisions based on evidence quickly at the local level.

The ceremony was presided over by Dr. Aliro Bórquez, Rector of the Catholic University of Temuco, and attended by Andrés Cuyul ​​of the Seremi Ministry of Health; Sergio Flores, Regional Director of Sernapesca; Rolando Sepúlveda, Regional Manager of Livestock Protection of SAG; A joint effort by the university authorities has inaugurated the Laboratory of Molecular Epidemiology in the School of Natural Resources at UCT, which will strengthen the diagnostic capacity of zoonotic pathogens such as avian influenza in La Araucaña.

The laboratory will form part of the national HPAI epidemiological surveillance laboratory network, thereby supporting the surveillance activities of health authorities and increasing the sensitivity of the national system for detection of HPAI or other pathogens. Importance of relevance to public health or livestock production.

Dr. Aliro Bórquez, Rector of UCT, noted that “this new scientific structure is very important because not only will it be used for research itself, but most importantly it will serve the region, which is very relevant. It is very relevant to have this laboratory for diagnosis and monitoring Diseases such as avian influenza. We were able to recognize the gaps in the diagnosis of these diseases in La Araucaña and today, with this laboratory, we will enter a national chain of laboratories that will allow us to monitor what can spread to the diseases in the country and will also become part of a national laboratory. “Serving the livestock industry in the region is a commitment that is tied to the seal of this university and our public commitment. “

In this laboratory, highly sophisticated and very fast equipment can be used to detect pathogens through techniques such as quantitative PCR, which will avoid the waiting time for samples to be sent to San Diego for analysis.

Andrés Cuyul ​​of Seremi de Salud said: “This laboratory will make a great contribution to the health of the region, as it will allow us to know in real time the results of samples through PCR processing to detect, for example, avian viruses. Influenza is La Alaukani a problem that already exists in the subregion. With this laboratory, we will reduce the waiting time of 7 to 10 days that previously required tests that were sent out centrally. Now we will get the results in about three hours and know whether the animal has high Risk Regardless of whether avian influenza is pathogenic or not, as a Ministry of Health it will allow us to act quickly and shorten response times, which is crucial if it ultimately infects humans. This strengthens the healthy alliance between the University, Sernapesca, SAG and the Ministry of Health , without this diagnostic element, the entire region will delay the opportunity to take preventive measures.”

The arrival of avian influenza, caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza virus, in the country in late 2022 clearly demonstrated the diagnostic gaps that existed in the region. In an emergency, samples collected by health authorities must be sent to Santiago to assess the presence of the virus through quantitative PCR testing. However, in some cases, sending samples outside the region results in a significant loss of time to act promptly and generate an adequate early response in the region so that the outbreak can be optimally contained and controlled.

Dr. Juan Manuel Sanhueza, Head of the Department of Veterinary Sciences and Public Health, emphasizes that “this laboratory aspires to become a reference center for the molecular diagnosis of pathogens in La Araucania. This laboratory will allow us to provide answers to local questions and to develop new technologies from La Araucania.” Kania acquires knowledge. Our challenge is that from here we can develop solutions and the diagnostic capabilities installed today allow us to be better prepared than at the beginning of the year to respond to existing and emerging diseases.” .

Meanwhile, Dr. Miguel Escalona, ​​dean of the School of Natural Resources, noted that “this space exemplifies all the actions we are taking as a university to provide our Araucanía with laboratories and produce diagnostic results and solutions on our territory”.

The laboratory, blessed by Claudio Aguirre, chaplain of the School of Natural Resources, was designed from an academic perspective as a multidisciplinary space within the School of Natural Resources for the performance of molecular diagnostics and Also allows students to learn first-hand how to perform these diagnostic techniques and their application in animal health.

Gallery Molecular Laboratory Ribbon Cutting

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