CIRAD sets up Zoonotic diseases lab for Zim

The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, (CIRAD) recently launched a €1million (USD1,084,070) state of the art biometric laboratory at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) for researching on animal and zoonotic diseases.

By Staff Reporter

Speaking to the press after the launch, CIRAD Zimbabwe CEO, Dr Mathieu Bourgarel said he was proud that the Zimbabwean lab mirrors CIRAD’s lab in France.

The biometric platform was a long term project. The PACMAN project and the CAZCOM project put in more than €1million in setting up the equipment and renovating the lab.

All the equipment was imported from overseas. I am proud to say that we have here in Zimbabwe what CIRAD has in France.

“We have bought in the country, the capacity to develop research on animal diseases and zoonotic diseases. This is a major project, especially in the aftermath of the disastrous COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

He said the platform would utilise the one health approach, which looks at human health, animal health and ecosystem health.

“We need to understand how out[1]breaks such as the COVID-19 occur, we need to understand the mechanisms. These facilities will help us develop a surveillance and control system for diseases.

“We will be able to train a new generation of University students so that they have the capacity to do research on these topics under the one health approach. We are promoting this approach because it is the only way we can understand and fight the new crop of diseases,”

Dr Bourgarel said. UZ Vice Chancellor, Paul Mapfumo said the launch of the lab would go a long way in curbing livestock mortality.

“We did not have the science and technology to curb livestock mortality. However this laboratory, which can be a centre of excellence in the country and region at large, will enable us to analyse, detect and have a proper surveillance system of animal diseases. It will also put a stop to some Zoonotic diseases under the one health system,” he said.

French ambassador to Zimbabwe, Laurent Chevalier said the platform paves the path for further corporation between CIRAD and UZ.

“The lab is a result of long standing corporation between CIRAD and the University of Zimbabwe. “The French development agency and the French ministry of foreign affairs funded the project. The project is aimed at reinforcing the capacity of Zimbabwe to detect new animal and zoonotic diseases.

“We are very proud as France to have been able to support this project. The lab is of international standards with state of the art equipment. This paves for further corporation with UZ,” he said

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