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WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza (VIDRL)
Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
792 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia

T +61 3 9342 9300
F +61 3 9342 9329

Training for Influenza Laboratories

We provide support and training opportunities to laboratories in the Asia-Pacific region that contribute to the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). In order to meet national needs and to play a role in GISRS, our regional partners require appropriate resources and expertise for laboratory-based detection of influenza virus and submission of samples to a WHO Collaborating Centre. Strong diagnostic and processing capabilities help regional laboratories to fulfil their key role in in global influenza surveillance and improve pandemic preparedness.

Our Centre provides technical support and training to laboratory staff, as well as advice regarding equipment and methods for laboratory-based detection of influenza virus. Our partners include WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO), WHO South-East Asian Regional Office (SEARO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Regional Emerging Diseases Intervention (REDI), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Our support and training activities generally take one of three forms:

Training on site at regional laboratories. A specialist staff member from the Centre visits the regional laboratory to help establish and/or provide training in specific techniques for detection of influenza virus.

Regional workshops held at the Centre in Melbourne or a regional venue. Laboratory scientists and managers from different countries convene for a multi-day workshop focusing on specific technical methods of influenza detection and analysis. Training is provided by specialists from the Centre and generally combines both background presentations and practical hands-on exercises. Workshop attendees have an opportunity to meet and exchange experiences with other influenza scientists from the region.

In-house training held at the Centre in Melbourne. Staff from regional laboratories spend several days with specialists at the Centre to gain detailed understanding of specific techniques to detect influenza virus. The Centre maintains an ongoing role in advising and supporting regional laboratories as they establish and strengthen their technical capabilities.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about training opportunities with the Centre in Melbourne.

We are pleased to welcome Ms Phalla Y and Mr Songha Tok from Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), as well as Mr Siyeatra Sok, from the National Public Health Laboratory (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), who are visiting the Centre from 20 November to 1 December 2017.

Ms Y, Mr Tok and Mr Sok are undertaking training in surveillance techniques, including serological analysis, genetic analysis and antiviral resistance testing.

L to R: Ms Phalla Y, Mr Songha Tok and Mr Siyeatra Sok,
with Centre Educator Patrick Reading (at rear)

Workshop on Virus Isolation and Characterisation for National Influenza Centre Staff in the Western Pacific Region

29 May - 2 June, 2017

The Centre was pleased to host scientists from WHO National Influenza Centres in the WHO Western Pacific Region for a week-long workshop on viral isolation and characterisation of influenza viruses, hosted by the Centre at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. In total, 17 scientists from Australia, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam attended the workshop. Staff from the Centre, Dr Kazuya Nakamura from the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Japan and Dr Frank Konings from the WHO Office for the Western Pacific Region (WPRO) presented lectures and led laboratory practical sessions in techniques on cell culture and isolation of influenza viruses.

During lectures and demonstrations, participants had an opportunity to learn about:

  • GISRS, the global influenza surveillance network and the importance of sharing viruses
  • methods for detecting and charcterising influenza viruses in clinical specimens and isolates
  • isolation of viruses in eggs and vaccine development
  • other respiratory viruses
  • different technologies for detecting influenza viruses using rapid test kits

Through practical hands-on laboratory exercises participants had an opportunity to further develop their skills in:

  • cultivating and isolating influenza viruses from cell culture
  • assessing cytopathic effect and haemagglutination to confirm virus growth
  • using serology to identify influenza virus isolates

We would like to thank WPRO for its support and assistance in co-ordinating the workshop.

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