Lessons from the Field

Strengthening laboratory capacity for detection of respiratory viral pathogens through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) framework

Brett Whitaker, Karen A. Alroy, Erica Guthrie, Sarah Schildecker, Susan Hiers, Jill Woodard, S. Arunmozhi Balajee
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 8, No 1 | a861 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v8i1.861 | © 2019 Brett Whitaker, Karen A. Alroy, Erica Guthrie, Sarah Schildecker, Susan Hiers, Jill Woodard, S. Arunmozhi Balajee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 July 2018 | Published: 18 July 2019

About the author(s)

Brett Whitaker, Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Karen A. Alroy, Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Erica Guthrie, Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Sarah Schildecker, Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Susan Hiers, Office of the Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Jill Woodard, Office of the Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
S. Arunmozhi Balajee, Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States


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Abstract

Background: Endemic and emerging respiratory viruses are a threat to public health, and a robust public health laboratory system is essential to ensure global health security.

Objective: This program sought to expand molecular laboratory testing capacity to detect a broad range of respiratory pathogens in clinical respiratory specimens collected during disease surveillance and outbreak investigations.

Methods: As a part of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention utilised the equipment and training infrastructure already in place at the World Health Organization National Influenza Centers to expand testing capacity for respiratory viruses in laboratories in GHSA partner countries. This was done through the provision of quality assured reagents, including multiplex platforms and technical guidance for laboratory staff, as well as the assessment of laboratory testing accuracy.

Conclusion: Early findings illustrated that GHSA laboratories have been able to expand testing capacity using specimens from routine surveillance, as well as from outbreak situations.


Keywords

public health laboratory; multiplex; respiratory viruses; global health security; polymerase chain reaction

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