Publication date 14.01.2021

"Exchange of experiences” – this key phase was repeated on several occasions during the meeting in Police HQ on 5 August 2020. Deputy Police Commander in Chief, general Kamil Bracha, colonel dr Adam Frankowski – Deputy Director of the Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police and lt. col. dr Magdalena Spólnicka – head of the CFLP Biology Department met with dr Paloma Cuchi – head of the representative office of the World Health Organization.

During the meeting col. dr Adam Frankowski presented detailed procedure of genetic screening tests for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus among police officers and employees. Examination procedures developed and applied in the CFLP, enabling efficient and safe conduct of research, encountered a positive response from the WHO.

Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police, in collaboration with the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, on the basis of the applicable sanitary, epidemiological and the recommendations of the World Health Organization, developed a detailed method of selecting tested group and  respective procedures to be followed by the Police organizational units. A particular attention was paid to the safety of testing environment. A special procedure algorithm has also been developed, specifying the rules and conditions for screening for SARS-CoV-2, taking into account the necessary equipment, instructions for collecting and transporting biological material.

During the meeting dr Paloma Cuchi said:

I am watching your work with great interest. Cooperation with the Police is very important for the WHO, especially now, during the pandemic. The Police covers a very wide range of activities and in many aspects, these activities are in line with the WHO objectives.

I am really impressed by the achievements of the Polish Police: the handbook of SARS-CoV-2-related response procedures and the test procedure developed by the CFLP. The most important thing is, as the practice shows, that the system you use is effective. There are no hundred percent methods, but the one you have developed largely reduces the risk and is very effective – she added.

Gen. Kamil Bracha thanked the head of the representative office of the World Health Organization for her commitment and support during the reorganization of the CFLP Biology Department, allowing the Department to be adapted to the new type of research. He said that the system being introduced is really effective, because since 11 March 2020, 305 policemen out of nearly 100 000 officers were tested positive for SARS.

Col. dr Adam Frankowski emphasized, that while working on the development of the procedure and algorithm enabling the Police officers and employees to conduct genetic screening test, we used as many solutions already functioning in the Police as possible. As a result, a significant part of the procedure was introduced cost-free.

During the meeting dr Paloma Cuchi asked a number of detailed questions about the applied solutions.

We have created standardized test kits. Each of them consists of a foil envelope slightly larger than A4. Inside there is a “swab”, a tube with virus-deactivating fluid, an instruction manual and two “biohazard” bags, enabling safe transportation of potentially infectious material. Each element has a barcode to which the data of a specific person from the Police are entered – lt. col. dr  Magdalena Spólnicka explains. All sensitive data is rendered anonymous and secured.

During the meeting the head of the representative office of the World Health Organization announced that she will share the information on the Polish testing system with other countries.

The fight against the pandemic is still ongoing and it is worth sharing experiences, especially the effective ones. It is also important to have a long-term perspective, especially to watch people who were tested positive and recovered. I hope this cooperation we have started will be continued at a time when we all deal with the pandemic. Our experts are at your disposal, both in terms of training and specialist consultancy – said dr Paloma Cuchi during the meeting.

Text: Izabela Pajdała