The German Federal Ministry of Agriculture has declared all employees in the veterinary medicine sector as systemically relevant in the corona crisis. Even so, this order is not enough for Giessen veterinarians – they are working on a wide range of support for the human sector.
From a biological point of view, man is also only an animal. So why shouldn’t it be possible to use capacities from veterinary medicine for humans as well? Researchers from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Justus Liebig University (JLU) in Giessen, Germany, are already involved in the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. In addition, laboratory capacities are now being created at the university’s Institute of Virology, in order to enable tests for SARS-CoV-2. “On the one hand, it will be possible to detect the virus with the test kits currently in use. On the other hand, new test methods will also be established,” says Prof. Dr. Martin Kramer, the department’s dean. In addition, the department is also investigating whether other laboratories in veterinary medicine could also take over testing.
Intensive care equipment for patient care
The Department of Veterinary Medicine in Giessen is currently investigating its facilities to determine the availability of anesthesia equipment with ventilation options and the number of ventilators that are available. Since the ventilators in the veterinary field originally come from human medicine anyway, such usage is easily possible. JLU’s Dr. Sabine Tacke, Professor at the Clinic for Small Animals, is therefore also looking for such devices throughout Germany. This search also includes private animal clinics and practices. Currently, all data is being collected and then provided to official institutions such as health authorities, and the state and federal ministries.
Specialists in nursing and medical care
In addition, JLU’s Veterinary Department is calling on all of its veterinary students and staff who have trained in nursing or human medicine to report to the Dean’s Office. “This includes, for example, people who have learned a nursing profession, who have been trained as paramedics or who are or were employed by the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief,” explains Kramer. Their talents could be used in nursing or care in the event of shortages during the corona pandemic.