IAEA

medical worker processing COVID-19 tests

At the request of governments from all over the world, the IAEA has delivered COVID-19 testing support and equipment to 286 laboratories in 128 countries and territories since March 2020 for the rapid and accurate detection of the disease. The IAEA assistance is to help countries boost their use of real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests – the most accurate and widely used nuclear-derived method to detect specific genetic material from pathogens, including viruses. The COVID-19 assistance is the biggest emergency operation in the IAEA’s history.

On March 2011, Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was hit by a powerful earthquake and huge tsunami. What progress has been made in nuclear safety since the accident?

Find out how nuclear science plays a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, from radiotherapy to radiopharmaceuticals to sterilising medical equipment. Cancer is one of the main causes of death worldwide. 10 million people die each year from cancer and the number is growing.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu and IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi on separate screens.

For more than 57 years, the partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IAEA has contributed to addressing global challenges, including food insecurity, climate change, animal/zoonotic diseases and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. The IAEA and FAO signed a revised arrangement, which upgrades their partnership and expands the horizons of their work.

Imaging from inside the body.

Find out how nuclear science plays a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, from medical imaging to radiotherapy to radiopharmaceuticals to sterilising medical equipment. Cancer is one of the main causes of death worldwide. 10 million people die each year from cancer and the number is growing. More than one third of cancer cases can be prevented. Another third can be cured if detected early and treated properly. The IAEA helps countries increase access to life-saving nuclear techniques.

closeup of person working in lab

Nuclear-derived tools supplied by IAEA in partnership with FAO play a critical role in researching, detecting, diagnosing and characterizing zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19. In recent discoveries, COVID-19 infections have been recorded to transmit from humans to minks and back to humans, showing that the virus quickly adapts to new hosts. Understanding such mutations is vital in the development of effective vaccines.

preparation of PCR reaction

Real time RT-PCR is the most accurate method to detect the COVID-19 virus. The FAO/IAEA Animal Protection and Health Laboratory has been helping countries use this technique to detect zoonotic (animal to human) diseases like COVID-19 and Ebola for decades.

illustration of female scientist

Named after pioneer physicist and Nobel Prize laureate Marie Skłodowska-Curie, the IAEA Programme aims to inspire and to encourage young women to pursue a career in nuclear sciences and technology and non-proliferation.

A variety of protective equipment individually wrapped in plastic.

Radiation is an effective and established tool to sterilize personal protective equipment (PPE) that is in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, except for respiratory face masks as it weakens their filters, according to the UN atomic energy agency (IAEA). The IAEA reviewed findings from five institutions that tested the use of ionizing radiation to sterilize gear. Shortages in protective equipment for staff on the frontline continue to pose a problem in many countries.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is helping dozens of countries use a nuclear-derived technique called rRT-PCR to detect the new coronavirus, by providing the necessary equipment, guidance and training.

 

Cassava mutant lines under evaluation at Gisozi research station.

When Burundian cassava farmers split open the plant’s starchy root, they’re hoping to find white flesh that resembles coconut meat. If instead the inside is marked with brown patches, it’s likely suffering from cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) — bad news for the farmer, who can no longer eat or sell the produce, and whose entire harvest may be at risk of loss due to the disease. Cassava, a carbohydrate-rich root vegetable, is the second most important staple crop in Burundi. Low cassava yields can exacerbate the country’s food insecurity, from which half of the population already suffers. IAEA experts trained Burundian scientists in plant breeding techniques, using induced mutation and tissue culture techniques to develop a new cassava variety. 

scientist analyzing genome sequences

Bosnia and Herzegovina veterinary authorities are better equipped to protect livestock from several animal diseases spreading in Southeastern Europe, thanks to the support of the IAEA in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This is an important step for food security in the country and for the export of animal products and food to the European Union market.

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, officially received the new equipment provided by the IAEA

New equipment worth over €600,000 provided to the Government of Madagascar by the IAEA, means the country again has a functioning gamma camera for nuclear imaging, and its experts in many fields from soil science to isotope hydrology and mining research can pursue state-of-the-art research in support of the country’s development objectives.

plastic covers over plants

A simple new device that costs less than US$1 to make could help global efforts to reduce harmful air pollution caused by ammonia emissions, while improving access to food.