Coronavirus: UAE launches study into virus transmission

Researchers from Khalifa University of Science and Technology will work alongside other international experts

A team of scientists from the UAE is investigating how the Covid-19 virus is able to transmit from animals to humans.

Researchers from Khalifa University of Science and Technology also hope to uncover insights into how to limit the spread of the infection.

The Emirates project will involve academics from universities from around the world, including the United States, China, Singapore and Australia.

Their combined efforts will also focus on the further study of the Sars and Mers viruses, two other known strains of coronavirus.

“We cannot beat the [Covid-19] virus without co-operation as it knows no geographical boundaries,” said Dr Habiba Alsafar, director of biotechnology at Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

“Other international groups including researchers from other countries have already expressed interest in joining the effort on studying the human and viral elements of the disease.”

As of July 16, there have been more than 13.5 million cases of Covid-19 reported worldwide.

The virus has led to the deaths of just under 585,000 people, while 7.5m have been able to recover.

Six months on from it first being identified in China, the outbreak still rages, with the US now experiencing an alarming spike in cases.

Scientists remain confident, however, that studies such as the UAE’s will in time uncover the necessary data to establish how the virus is transmitted to humans.

“We believe this research project will provide answers regarding the transmission of coronavirus between humans and animals while also providing insights that may help limit the transmission of Covid-19,” said Dr Steve Griffiths, senior vice-president of research and development at Khalifa University.

“The project to identify the cause of the Covid-19 transmission from animals to humans showcases our commitment to collectively find a solution to this global healthcare threat.”

Updated: July 16, 2020 06:44 PM

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