The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is doing everything it can to help member states in responding to the outbreak of the coronavirus, director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi said addressing the Vienna-based board of governors on 9 March.
"We have been in constant contact with the WHO and other key partners to assess the current level of knowledge about Covid-19, identify gaps and work to accelerate and fund priority research"
Mr Grossi said the IAEA is not a specialised health agency and has no role in controlling the disease. "But we do have expertise and experience that help in detecting outbreaks of certain viral diseases and in diagnosing them," he said.
"We have been in constant contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other key partners to assess the current level of knowledge about Covid-19, identify gaps and work to accelerate and fund priority research", he said.
Mr Grossi added that so far IAEA has received official requests for support from six countries in Africa, five in the Asia and Pacific region and three in Latin America.
He did not name the countries, but said scientists there will be offered training in a nuclear-derived technique known as RT-PCR, which makes it possible to identify the virus accurately within hours. The first training course will take place at the agency's Seibersdorf laboratories near Vienna in a few weeks' time.