UAE sends 200,000 Covid-19 testing kits to Nevada, US

The value of the donation is estimated to range between $15m to $20 million

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 21: An aerial view shows hotel-casinos and other venues on the Las Vegas Strip, most of which have been closed since March 17 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on May 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is still unclear when casinos in the state will be allowed to reopen.   Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP
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One of the largest coronavirus screening centres in Nevada opened in Las Vegas following a donation of more than 200,000 testing kits worth roughly $20 million (Dh73.5m) from the UAE.

The donation was made by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, in mid-April and allows for thousands of Nevada residents to be tested for Covid-19.

In a report by the Los Angeles Times, members of the state's Covid-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force, a group of business leaders supporting Nevada's recovery, said the donation was made following discussions with G42, a technology company based in Abu Dhabi that was recently involved in the development of a non-invasive rapid laser test for coronavirus.

Without the connection with the UAE, we might be in a different place

Jim Murren, chair of the task force, said the UAE realised the state did not have enough screening equipment to prevent the spread of the virus.

At the time, Nevada was only able to test hundreds of residents, having to send many swabs to neighbouring states for processing, while the UAE can test tens of thousands a day.

The testing kits were donated to the University Medical Centre in Las Vegas which then opened Nevada's first high-volume testing laboratory.

“Without the connection with the UAE, we might be in a different place,” Mr Murren said. “It really gave University Medical Centre a real shot in the arm.”

He estimated the value of the donation to range between $15m to $20 million.

The partnership between the Nevada task force and the UAE was announced locally on April 18. The goal of the partnership was to roll out high-volume testing throughout the state.

At the time, Mr Murren, who is also former chief executive of MGM, said they had acquired vital testing materials from G42 that will be used for a long-term "innovative genomic study" for Covid-19 testing and research.

"The resources from G42 will substantially increase our ability to conduct Covid-19 testing and research to help us mitigate the effects of this virus on our citizens and visitors during the current crisis," he said.

"It will also enable us to fortify our ability to provide a safe and sustainable economic recovery for all of Nevada in the long run."

Similar high-volume testing is also being developed in Northern Nevada with Renown and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, reported state news agency Wam.

To date, the UAE has donated more than 641 tonnes of medical aid to 54 countries since the outbreak.

"The UAE will continue to provide its support to the international community and promote stronger relationships between countries with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of the global response to the current crisis," Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said previously.