Microalgae, COVID-19 Research Laboratories Inaugurated

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Addis Ababa November 5/2020 (ENA) National Microalgae Biotechnology and COVID-19 research laboratories were inaugurated today in the premises of the Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute.

The microalgae laboratory will serve for microalgal production and the COVID-19 research laboratory for testing and research.

Launching the laboratories at the institute, Innovation and Technology State Minister Fozia Amin said the laboratories are real-time problem solving.

The COVID-19 laboratory would support the current testing challenges of the pandemic and other diseases while the National Microalgae Biotechnology Laboratory enables the untapped resources in the country to be exploited by educated human power, she added.

Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute Director-General, Kassahun Tesfaye said on the occasion the semi-automated microalgae laboratory is the first of its kind to Ethiopia and will produce  microalgae products and serve as a capacity building project.

According to him, the microalgae laboratory will use large-scale mass culture in the Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes and produce 100 liters of microalgae seeds in 15 days to help sustain nutrition and for export.

The microalgae laboratory, which serves as a seed producing and research laboratory for spirulina and other microalgae production, is very important for countries like Ethiopia where stunting is prevalent, it was learned.

Ethiopian Industrial Biotechnology Director at the institute, Fantahun Woldesenbet told ENA that “even though people get sufficient food, the food may not be complete in its nutrient content. So spirulina serves as a supplement to make the food or nutrition complete and the seed production and research will be conducted in the National Microalgae Biotechnology Laboratory.”

The total cost spent for the establishment of the  microalgae and COVID-19 laboratories is about 8 million Birr and 11 million Birr, respectively.

Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute has been conducting second level COVID-19 testing since the spread of the pandemic in Ethiopia and this third level laboratory could help conduct even other related diseases due to the increased safety level.