April 21, 2020

Science Ministry announces $1.5 billion peso fund to support COVID-19 diagnosis in the university laboratory network

Science Ministry announces $1.5 billion peso fund to support COVID-19 diagnosis in the university laboratory network
This week laboratories in Coquimbo, Talca, Concepción, Santiago and Puerto Montt joined the network of 20 universities in 13 regions across the country.

To support the functioning of university laboratories in the COVID-19 diagnosis network, the Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Undersecretary, Carolina Torrealba, has announced a new fund of $1.5 billion pesos located within the National Research and Development Agency (ANID), which responds to the requirements of the Health Ministry.

According to the authorities, the fund will be assigned on the recommendation of an advisory board, comprised of the offices of the Science Undersecretary and the Healthcare Networks Undersecretary, representatives of public and private universities and the scientific societies for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Immunology.  The laboratories will be able to use these resources to increase their staff and acquire the materials they need to respond to the Health Ministry’s requests.

“The organized scientific community is contributing today to a task that is essential in fighting this pandemic and this fund aims to support the efforts of the university teams that are strengthening our diagnostic capacity in the public healthcare network through the analysis of CRP tests,” said Science Minister Andrés Couve.

“The scientific community has made itself available to the country during this crisis by temporarily reconverting its research labs into diagnostic laboratories. The purpose of this new fund is to strengthen the diagnostic capacities of the centers that belong to the network of university laboratories, allowing them to have specialized personnel and increase work shifts,” added Science Undersecretary Carolina Torrealba

For her part, ANID National Director Aisén Etcheverry added “the Agency will support the strengthening of the national laboratory network which is urgently needed to fight the pandemic by making available this special emergency fund.  On this occasion, ANID has shown its capacity to operate in a flexible manner, with a special fund for rapid implementation, which will function accordingly under the technical guidelines of the Healthcare Networks Undersecretary’s Office and the Science Ministry. In this way we hope to contribute to the Health Ministry’s health strategy by incorporating additional testing capacity,” said Aisén Etcheverry, the national director of the National Research and Development Agency .

Additionally, and with the same purpose of increasing and strengthening the diagnostic network, the authorities announced the new centers that are joining this network, which now extends over 13 regions.

The university network (updated as of April 20, 2020):

1. Universidad de Tarapacá: Laboratory of the Universidad de Tarapacá.

2. Universidad Arturo Prat: Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory.

3. Universidad de Antofagasta: Molecular Virology Laboratory of the Faculty of Marine Sciences and Biological Resources.

4. Universidad de Atacama: Molecular Biology Laboratory.

5. Universidad de La Serena: Laboratory of the Department of Food Engineering, and Laboratory of the Department of Biology.

6. Universidad Católica del Norte: Laboratory of Marine Physiology and Genetics.

7. Universidad de Valparaíso: Clinical Laboratories of the university.

8. Universidad Andrés Bello: Virology Laboratories of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences.

9. Universidad de Chile: Virology Laboratory, led by the Virology Program of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine.

10. Universidad Autónoma de Chile: Virology Laboratory of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

11. Universidad de Santiago: Virology Laboratory of the Center of Aquaculture Biotechnology.

12. Universidad del Desarrollo: UDD BioSolutions Laboratory.

13. Universidad Autónoma (Talca campus): Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology Laboratory, Universidad Autónoma de Chile.

14. Universidad Católica del Maule: Biomedical Research Laboratory.

15. Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción: Research Laboratories for Biomedical Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine.

16. Universidad de Concepción: Immunovirology Laboratory of the Faculty of Biological Sciences and Center of Biotechnology.

17. Universidad de Concepción, Faculty of Pharmacy: Laboratory for Molecular and Proteomic Diagnostics UdeC-Omics.

18. Universidad de La Frontera: Laboratory for Molecular Bioanalysis and Diagnostics, and the Laboratory for Molecular Morphology and Cellular Culture.

19. Universidad Austral at Valdivia: Laboratory for Hantavirus Diagnostics.

20. Universidad San Sebastián at Puerto Montt: Research Center for Applied Biological Sciences, Los Lagos Region (CIBA).

21. Universidad de Magallanes: Molecular Medicine Laboratory of the Teaching and Research Center (CADI) in conjunction with the Clinical Hospital of Magallanes and Healthcare Service of Magallanes.