Recent Activities - 2017

28th Regional Congress of the ISBT

NRL Staff members Roseena Taqi and Jingjing Cai attended the 28th Regional Congress of the ISBT in Guangzhou, China, from November 25 - 28. 


The meeting attracted around 2,700 delegates from 50 countries which included exhibitors and 644 posters on display.  Roseena presented a poster on “NRL Blood Screening EQAS, 2015-2016.  How is it trending?” and Jingjing presented a poster entitled “Evaluation Of A Multimarker Quality Control Sample For Monitoring:

10th Scientific Meeting of the International Leptospirosis Society

NRL Staff members Roderick Chappel and Liza Cabuang attended the 10th Scientific Meeting of the International Leptospirosis Society (ILS), held in Palmerston North, New Zealand from 27 November to 1 December.  Leptospirosis, caused by spirochaete bacteria of the genus Leptospira, infects people, domestic animals and wildlife globally.  There are an estimated one million serious human cases of leptospirosis each year, with about 60,000 deaths.  The meeting was hosted, on behalf of ILS, by the leptospirosis research group at Massey University, Palmerston North.  The meeting attracted about 200 delegates from 34 countries.

Abbott Transfusion Medicine Quality Symposia in India

NRL participated in a series of symposia on Raising Blood Safety Standards to the Next Level held by Abbott in Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai from the 7th – 9th of November. The format of each meeting involved a series of short presentations followed by round-table discussions focussing on the current situation and future direction of blood services in India. Susie Braniff from NRL presented on quality improvement strategies for the laboratory and Dr Christian Fischer and Anil Joseph from Abbott addressed global practices for transfusion transmitted infections and the benefits of consolidating laboratory testing to ensure high quality blood supply.

September 2017: Training Workshop on Quality Management Systems for the Vaccine Preventable Disease Laboratory Network in India

Between 18-22 September 2017, NRL took part in a five day training workshop in New Delhi, India, for 33 participants from the Vaccine Preventable Disease (VPD) Laboratory Network. The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for India and Regional Office for South-East Asia (SEARO) approached NRL to provide technical assistance at the workshop on quality management systems.  The training workshop was composed of presentations covering topics of quality management systems, performing internal audits, corrective and preventive action, continual improvement mechanisms (including the PDCA Cycle) and external quality assessment schemes (EQAS). 

NRL Training: Viral Hepatitis Laboratory Assessment in Mongolia 2017

Mongolia has the highest hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence in the Western Pacific region, and also has a high burden of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis delta virus (HDV). To address this burden, the Mongolian government approved the Healthy Liver Program (HLP) Resolution in April this year to stop HBV transmission and eliminate HCV. To achieve this goal, the Mongolian Ministry of Health (MOH) informally requested the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide technical support to review and assess the quality and technical capacity of hepatitis laboratories in Mongolia. 

NRL Training: NRL Workshop on Evaluation of In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) Medical Devices in Vietnam

On behalf of the World Health Organisation (WHO) office in Vietnam Susie Braniff from NRL delivered a four day training workshop entitled “Evaluation of In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) Medical Devices” in Hanoi from the 04 – 07 July, 2017. The first 3 training days brought together 42 technical experts from the organisations that currently contribute to the national IVD dossier review programme. Approaches to the evaluation of IVDs were presented along with a breakdown of the required administrative and technical elements of an IVD dossier. Multiple practical sessions gave participants the opportunity to apply their analytical skills for evaluating the material provided in IVD dossiers being considered for registration.

NRL Accredited as a WHO Prequalification Evaluating Laboratory

On the 25 July 2017, NRL was accepted as a WHO Prequalification Evaluating Laboratory allowing NRL to independently evaluate in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs) for HIV, HCV and HBV Nucleic Acid Testing and HIV, HCV, HBV and Syphilis serology. The aim of the WHO Prequalification of IVDs is to promote and facilitate access to safe, appropriate and affordable IVDs of acceptable quality. 

NRL Training in Tajikistan

During 17 – 25 July 2017, NRL (represented by Susie Braniff and Marlene Tschaepe) conducted the 2nd visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan under the framework of the project with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Tajikistan, entitled “Technical assistance for the implementation of External Quality Assessment Schemes for the Republican AIDS Centre HIV/AIDS Laboratory Network”.

Standardisation of Genomic Amplification Techniques and Serology/ Standardisation of Infection Diagnostics (SoGATS/SID) Workshop in London

NRL staff attended the SoGATS/SID meeting held in London between 26 and 28 June 2017.  The aim of this meeting is for relevant parties to come together and discuss International Standards to be planned, designed and proposed to the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Biological Standards (ECBS). 

27th Regional Congress of the ISBT in Copenhagen

NRL staff members (Wayne Dimech and Joe Vincini) attended the 27th Regional Congress of the ISBT in Copenhagen between 17 and 21 June 2017, providing representation at both the Trade Exhibition and in the Scientific Programme.

NRL Training in Myanmar: ASCP-NRL Sub-Contract

NRL conducted its second visit to Myanmar under the ASCP-NRL sub-contract between 22 – 31 May 2017.  The aim of this trip was for NRL Scientist, Liza Cabuang, to visit HIV viral load testing sites at the National Health Laboratory (NHL), Mingalardon Specialist Hospital (MSH) and Magway General Hospital (MGH), to conduct on-site technical training and mentoring. 

NRL Training in Myanmar: ASLM-NRL Sub-Contract

Between 24 – 30 May 2017, NRL (represented by Sue Best, Geraldine Kong, Susie Braniff and Marlene Tschaepe) conducted its second visit to Myanmar under the ASLM-NRL sub-contract.  

The HMSTrust Biobank

NRL is proud of its partnership with St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI) in housing the HMSTrust biobank onsite. Recently, media outlets reported that SVI has launched a ‘Living Biobank’, to support research into diseases that affect Australians, including diabetes and cancer.

NRL Training: Workshop on Hepatitis Strategic Information and Laboratory Capacity, Mongolia

The World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) aims to establish the first Regional Hepatitis Reference Laboratory Network based on existing networks for HIV, measles and rubella. WHO WPRO is also seeking to further develop disease surveillance mechanisms in the region.  To this end a Workshop organised by WHO, was held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and attended by 90 public and private laboratory staff and managers, clinicians, and epidemiologists. 

NRL Training in Myanmar

In the first quarter of 2017, NRL was awarded two sub-contracts, which allowed the continuation of capacity development activities in Myanmar.  Both sub-contracts were funded by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One of the sub-contracts was between the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) and NRL.

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NRL is designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for Diagnostics and Laboratory Support for HIV and AIDS and Other Blood-borne Infections