Pequeno Príncipe’s Genomic Lab conducts tests to detect coronavirus

Project enabled through the support of society is conducting exams on patients, staff and public agents

Pequeno Príncipe’s Genomic Lab has played a fundamental role in the diagnosis and treatment of several complex diseases, such as primary immunodeficiencies and other rare diseases, neoplasms, neurodegenerative diseases and infectious diseases, among many others. Built with funds raised through the Pequeno Príncipe Gala, the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), the company RUMO and several other companies and individuals who supported the initiative through the National Program for Oncological Care Support (PRONON), the Genomic Lab is also essential in the fight against the coronavirus, carrying out the diagnostic tests for COVID-19.

“Due to its structural characteristics, counting on highly sophisticated equipment, and by having highly qualified professionals, our laboratory is giving us a great support at this moment, speeding up the realization of COVID-19 exams. This agility is essential to contain the spread of the disease among our teams and to offer appropriate treatment to children and adolescents who come to us,” explains the executive director of the Pequeno Príncipe Hospital, Ety Cristina Forte Carneiro.

Since the beginning of April, the Genomic Lab has been carrying out the RT-PCR test. It is a genetic exam, applied in several areas of research and diagnosis, such as the evaluation of the genetic profile of tumors and the detection of different viruses. In addition to RT-PCR, the laboratory is also carrying out the Fast Test for COVID-19 and chest computed tomography. Since the beginning of April, the Genomic Lab have already performed 387 exams in patients, relatives and health professionals.

Threat to humanity
“When I was a child, the disaster we feared most was nuclear war. Today, the greatest risk of global catastrophe does not look like a bomb, but a virus”. This Bill Gates’ line that opened a 2015 Ted Talk seemed to predict the coronavirus pandemic that the world is currently facing. “We invested a lot in nuclear weapons, but very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We are not prepared,” he said in a lecture entitled “The next outbreak? We are not ready” (click here and watch the full lecture).

From that moment until today, in fact, investments in research have not advanced much in the world. The world average investment in research and development as part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), is 2.22%. In Brazil, the average is 1.26%.

Pequeno Príncipe has always believed in the value of research as a fundamental way to advance the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect human beings, especially children. That is why, in 2006, it was created the Pelé Pequeno Príncipe Research Institute, which is dedicated to the investigation of complex diseases that are responsible for the high mortality among children and adolescents. The Genomic Lab was born from the demands of studies carried out at the Institute. Today, in addition to serving the research area, it is dedicated to health assistance, refining the diagnoses and conducting the treatment of patients admitted at the Hospital. “In this way, we created a virtuous circle in which research, teaching and health assistance are fed back, strengthening our mission to save lives,” emphasizes the director.

Return to society
The construction of the Pequeno Príncipe’s Genomic Lab is a clear demonstration of the importance of the investment of companies and individuals in projects aimed at research and health, and also of the seriousness with which the institution uses the resources it receives from society. “At first, the laboratory was dedicated exclusively to the care of cancer patients, in accordance to PRONON. After the deadline established by the Ministry of Health, it broadens its attention, starting to perform tests for other pathologies, such as COVID-19 cases,” highlights Ety.

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Other editions

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