U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
March 17, 2020
United States announces $1 million in funding to the International Atomic Energy Agency to Combat COVID-19 Outbreak
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced today in Washington that the United States is supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. $1.0 million of the U.S. voluntary contribution to the IAEA will be used to support the IAEA’s work to provide training and to procure COVID-19 diagnosis and biosafety equipment for member states requesting support. This U.S. funding was provided by the U.S. Department of State.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi announced last week in a statement to the IAEA Board of Governors that the agency had “received official requests” from countries in Africa, the Asia and Pacific region, and Latin America for support in responding to the global COVID-19 outbreak. In his statement, Grossi encouraged all member states in a position to do so to make additional funding available to the IAEA to meet these requests.
The IAEA will offer training to scientists from requesting member states on a nuclear-derived technique known as Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). The technique makes it possible to identify the COVID-19 virus within hours. The IAEA also plans to provide participating Member States with COVID-19 testing kits using these U.S. funds. Each of the COVID-19 testing kits will include an RT-PCR diagnostic system (which detects the presence of genetic material from the virus to confirm whether a patient has been infected) and relevant biosafety equipment, including cabinets and hoods.
The United States is one of 171 Member States of the IAEA and one of 35 countries serving as a member on the IAEA’s governing board.
More information on the IAEA’s support to countries in the detection of COVID-19 is available on the Agency’s website, www.iaea.org.