“More than money”. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation donated automated Covid-19 laboratories to Almaty and Nur-Sultan

July 01, 2020

Unique modular laboratory facilities were launched in Nur-Sultan and Almaty to carry out the fast and high-precision PCR screening of people for coronavirus. The unique laboratory, characterised by mobility, a high level of biosafety and automation of the testing process, was given free of charge to the Ministry of Health by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

Philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov is convinced that the social responsibility of business should be exercised at any time. Control of Covid-19 in Kazakhstan did not become an exception too, and he wholeheartedly took part in it. The businessman purchased two laboratory facilities for 4 million dollars fromBGI, the Chinese world leader in the field of medical research, production of equipment and consumables for laboratory analyses.

PCRscreeninglaboratoryinAlmaty / Photo by Almaz Toleke

The laboratory is fully equipped for the entire PCR-analysis cycle. Intotal, thefacility consists of 42 items of high-tech equipment and sets of tools for sampling, storage and labelling of biological material, conduction of the trial by the method of polymerase chain reaction. The trial process is fully automated which allows to carry out the test quickly, with high precision and involvement of less specialists.

The laboratory capacity is 1,000 analyses a day, with a potential of increasing it up to 5,000, the test results being ready in 3 hours.  BulatUtemuratov’sFoundationequippedeachlaboratorywithsetsofrequiredagentsfor 30,000 tests for the immediate launch.

“To cope with the infection and to stop it”

Laboratories purchased by BulatUtemuratov allowed for the increase in capacity and potential of the infectious diseases service and the increase in the speed of carrying out trials.

“Laboratories employs killed virologists from branches of the National Centre of Expertise, trained by the BGI company specialists who came from the People’s Republic of China,” said Minister of Health YelzhanBirtanov at the opening of the laboratory in the capital.

Laboratories conduct free screening for unemployed, low-income and multi-child families, people with disabilities, patients older than 50 years, and volunteers and patrollers.

The laboratory system provides a high level of biological safety that meets the WHO requirements, which is not always possible to achieve even in hospitals. As recommended by the manufacturer, the facility is installed indoors for increased stability and safety. The “Kazakhstan”Sports Centre was chosen as the laboratory installation sitein Nur-Sultan, and one of the pavilions of the Atakent Exhibition Centre was chosenin Almaty. If necessary, the laboratory can change its location in one week.

PCRscreeninglaboratoryinAlmaty/ Photo by Almaz Toleke

“One of the main tasksisto maximize the identification of Covid-19 patients, because, as practice has shown, there are those who have the infection without symptoms.While only one laboratory operated in the city at the beginning of the quarantine, today there are six of them, and in the near future we will open additional ones. The laboratory facility for PCR screening, which was given to us by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, will allow us to further increase the number of tests: patients identified at an early stage will receive timely medical care, and the number of potential contacts will be reduced. I express my gratitude for this support”, said Altai Kulginov, Akim of Nur-Sultan.

BGI-manufactured laboratory facilities are currently supplied to many countries of Asia and Europe. Thecomprehensivesolutionis aimed to satisfy the urgent world demand in creation of an infrastructure for the mass coronavirus screening. For the first time, the new development was presented two months ago in Shenzhen (PRC), where BGI is headquartered.

“Mobile facilities will work for free for vulnerable categories of citizens who cannot afford to take the coronavirus test in commercial laboratories. This will help expand the screening coverage, detect the incidence in the early stages, reduce the risk of complications and limit the spread of the virus. Thus, by joint efforts of the state, business and society, we will cope with the infection and will stop it,” said Marat Aitmagambetov, Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

Earlier Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, thefirstoneinKazakhstan, brought to the country 94,000 express tests for 200 million tenge and gave them to the Ministry of Health. Apart from the support rendered to the governmental coronavirus screening programme, Bulat Utemuratov transferred 1 million dollars to the “Birgemyz” Pubic Foundation set up at the initiative of the First President – Yelbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev – to counterfeit coronavirus and to support the socially vulnerable groups of population.

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was set up in 2014. The Foundation’s mission is to help Kazakhstan to become a better place for the life of people today and in the future through support of the development of health, education and culture.

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