Recent Activities - 2020
National Hepatitis C Testing Policy Update
The update of the National HCV Testing Policy has been endorsed by the Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Standing Committee (BVSS) of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. This policy has been developed as a concise source of standardised, currently available information to inform those involved in ordering and performing hepatitis C testing.
NRL Welcomes New Quality and Risk Manager Daniela Dittrich
NRL is delighted to announce the appointment of Daniela Dittrich who has taken up the role of Quality and Risk Manager at NRL. Daniela comes to NRL with over 20 year’s of experience in quality, quality control, auditing, risk and project management, working for some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Australia and overseas.
NRL Delivers Virtual EQAS Training in Indonesia
From 23 – 25 November 2020, NRL conducted a virtual training on the theory, concepts and processes relating to the provision of External Quality Assessment Schemes (EQAS) for the Republic of Indonesia Ministry of Health’s four Provincial Health Laboratories, Balai Besar Laboratorium Kesehatan (BBLK) Jakarta, Palembang, Makassar and Surabaya.
The training aimed to:
Strengthen the quality of current EQA programs
Enable the BBLKs to provide HIV viral load and early infant diagnosis EQAS within the next two years
NRL Supports HIV Testing in Myanmar
From October 2019 to September 2020, NRL has continued to support the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports in the provision of high-quality HIV testing services, aimed at achieving 95-95-95 targets amongst all populations by 2030.
Funded by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, through a cooperative agreement between ICAP at Columbia University (ICAP) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the support provided by NRL has included the development of a number of Protocols and guidance documents regarding HIV testing.
Head-to-head Comparison of Antibody Detection Assays for SARS-CoV-2
NRL is pleased to announce an agreement with the WHO Emergency Use Group to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of COVID19 serology test kits designed to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 virus. Since the onset of the pandemic, hundreds of serology test kits otherwise referred to as in-vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs) have been released for use without manufacturers being required to undergo formal conformity assessment and provide comprehensive evidence of performance characteristics of the IVD.
NRL to Develop Guidelines for the Design and Implementation of Post-Market Monitoring of Near Patient In-Vitro Diagnostic Devices
NRL is developing and finalizing guidance for end-users on how to conduct quality monitoring of in-vitro diagnostics (IVDs) and to develop use cases for better supply of end-user quality control materials and proficiency testing panels. In association with the WHO Regulation and Safety (REG)/Incidents and Substandard/Falsified Medical Products (ISF) group, NRL will develop guidelines that will inform Global Fund and other procurers of near-patient testing IVDs on how to establish a quality assurance and post market framework.
NRL Supporting the South East Asia Laboratory Strengthening Project
The South East Asia Laboratory Strengthening (SEALAB) project aims to reinforce national health systems in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar through strengthening laboratory capacity to detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks of a potentially pandemic nature. Funded by the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia, and in collaboration with the SEALAB lead organization, the Mérieux Foundation, and Integrated Quality Laboratory Services (IQLS), NRL’s role is to support and strengthen the quality of testing being performed. This activity has commenced in the following countries:
IAEA and WHO-WPRO Webinar Series to Support the COVID-19 Testing Laboratories in the Asia and the Pacific Region
The COVID-19 global pandemic has presented major challenges in public health sectors worldwide. As part of the UN Crisis Management Team (CMT), the IAEA and WHO are working together towards strengthening public health, supply of essential equipment, training, and investment in laboratory systems of Member States to address challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
NRL Welcomes New Staff Member Francois Lamoury to the Scientific Consulting and Training Team
We are excited to announce that in September, Francois Lamoury joined NRL as a Senior Scientist in the Scientific Consulting and Training team. Francois has more than 25 years’ experience in medical and clinical laboratory research, has an Engineering degree in biotechnology from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France, and a MBA from AGSM, UNSW Sydney. . Prior to NRL, Francois worked at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) on the validation of new diagnostics tools in low- and middle- income countries for the detection of Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
NRL Scientific Consulting and Training: NRL Contributes to the Strengthening of HIV Testing in Myanmar
With funding from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and through a cooperative agreement between ICAP at Columbia University (ICAP) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NRL is supporting the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports to develop, implement, and monitor the provision of high-quality HIV testing services, to achieve the 95-95-95 targets amongst all populations by 2030. As part of these efforts, NRL staff member Sandy Walker conducted two virtual training programs for approximately 90 participants from the National Health Laboratory (NHL), the National AIDS Program (NAP), and 17 state and regional hospitals. The first training session was held from 29 to 30 July, and covered the theory on HIV Confirmatory Testing in Myanmar.
NRL Scientific Consulting and Training: Supporting HIV Testing in Myanmar
Myanmar continues to strive towards the development and sustainability of effective and high quality laboratory systems, to support progress towards 90-90-90 targets by 2020, as a milestone for further achievement of 95-95-95 targets by 2030.
NRL Joins Victorian COVID-19 Response
NRL, a division of the St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, has joined the Burnet and Doherty Institutes in supporting the Victorian State Government response to COVID-19, focusing on the development of new diagnostic technologies, clinical research and strengthening the public health response. Funded by Victorian State Government $6 million funding pool, NRL will develop a biorepository of well-characterised samples as well as antibody reference and confirmatory tests to evaluate new diagnostic assays, including rapid point of care tests, as they become available.
ACH2 Grant Awarded for the Validation of VL-PlasmaA® Device for use in HTLV Proviral Load and Antibody Testing
NRL Principal Scientist A/Prof Rosemary Ffrench and collaborators from the Burnet, Baker and Peter Doherty Institutes were successful in their application for an ACH2 grant for the: Validation of VL-Plasma® device for use in HTLV proviral load and antibody testing. This study, which commenced in January 2020, will use the VL-Plasma device developed by A/Prof David Anderson and his team at the Global Health Diagnostic Development Laboratory at the Burnet Institute
NRL bids farewell to Dr Thein Thein Aye
It was with great sadness that we said farewell in January to Dr Thein Thein Aye after more than twenty years as a loyal and longstanding member of staff. We took the opportunity to celebrate her contribution and welcomed NRL’s previous Directors Dr Liz Dax and Sue Best and other former NRL staff to join us for the occasion. We celebrated Thein Thein’s generous spirit and her can-do attitude and recognised the selfless service and the strong commitment she has demonstrated to the mission of NRL.