The agency said its assistance includes equipment and expertise to help laboratories around the world step up testing as part of efforts to curb the spread of the disease.
The effort has drawn around €26m in extrabudgetary funds, including support from IAEA member states and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, the Japanese multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company. Last month Takeda said it would commit around €4.35m in support of the initiative.
The agency has been helping countries through the provision of RT-PCR equipment, as well as accessories for testing and sampling. It is also providing personal protective equipment and offering webinars and video guidance for health and laboratory professionals on sample collection and processing.
RT-PCR, or reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction, is a nuclear-derived technique to quickly detect the virus causing Covid-19. The IAEA, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, has in the past helped countries use this method in the detection of Ebola and Zika, among other diseases.
“One hundred and twenty countries turned to us for help,” said IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi “We mounted the biggest operation of assistance in the history of the IAEA.”
Mr Grossi said: “This is emergency assistance and the effort is going to continue. I am encouraging countries and entities in a position to do so to contribute in this endeavour.”