The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causes the respiratory disease COVID-19 and has spread throughout the world during the past few months. Until now, approximately 3.5 million people were infected and more than 200.000 died as a consequence of the disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences beyond the sickness itself. In order to limit the spread of the virus control measures were applied placing a large part of the global population in quarantine. An essential factor in successfully combating the virus is the expansion of test capacities.
At the beginning of the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology (IMB) provided material and technical expertise to establish COVID-19 diagnostics at the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) in Tbilisi (Georgia). The IMB successfully collaborates with the NCDC since 2013 in the framework of the German Biosecurity Programme, so the staff of the NCDC was able to implement the SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic assay within a very short time. With increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia, the NCDC is facing challenges not only of financial but also logistical nature due to supply shortages and flight cancellations. To further support the Georgian partner in the pandemic crisis the IMB provided additional material in several partial deliveries. In order to overcome logistical hurdles, two of these deliveries were organized with the assistance of the Embassy of Georgia in Germany and the Embassy of Germany in Georgia, respectively. The shipment included diagnostic material for both, virus and antibody detection and was handed over to the NCDC director Prof Amiran Gamkrelidze by the German Ambassador Mr Knirsch and the German military attaché Lieutenant Colonel Ukerwitz. The collaboration and cohesion over the crisis further strengthens and intensifies the close partnership between the IMB and NCDC.