Riyadh National Laboratory to start services on Sunday

 Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Ahmad Al-Khateeb will open the most modern laboratory in the Kingdom on Sunday.

Shedding light on the new facility, Deputy Health Minister Ibrahim Al-Omar said that the laboratory was built and equipped according to latest international standards.  It is the latest in the Ministry of Health’s chain of laboratories and the largest one, not only in the Kingdom but also in the whole Middle East.

“We hope this crucial facility will contribute effectively in responding to the needs of citizens and residents for sample check-ups at the highest possible levels in the country,” he said.

“This giant premises, established at a cost of SR385 million, will be a reference laboratory for the entire Kingdom and will provide tertiary and fourth level advanced test services,” he said.

Al-Omar said that the laboratory can accommodate 500 people, and is equipped for advanced biohazard security and prevention measures according to strict measures and arrangements.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry announced on Wednesday that its laboratory experts and technicians test about 2,000 samples weekly since the start of 2015 compared with only 100 weekly in the same period of 2014.

 “Tests are conducted in specially equipped laboratories for the early discovery of infectious diseases, particularly coronavirus, to ensure that none of the people or medical community members are infected,” he said.

Epidemiologist John Watson, who leads the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention in the US, said that the Kingdom is currently more prepared and equipped to deal with the coronavirus than it was in 2014, stressing the importance of close collaboration between the ministry, health care providers and laboratories.

The American medical expert said that they now know how the virus is transmitted and that it can be picked up two ways: one is primary, which is from community, and the other is secondary, which is in the health care facility.

“If the primary infection is detected in a timely manner and properly handled in the health care setting, taking all precautionary measures, then the secondary source will not happen. And this emphasizes the role of awareness and adherence to preventive measures,” said Watson.

Source : Arab News  http://www.arabnews.com/