No More Pandemics: Training of national reference laboratory staff

From 12-22 December 2022, in total eight staff members of the national reference laboratories from Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania and Vietnam were trained as part of the Dream Fund project ‘No More Pandemics’. The participants were trained on the theory, laboratory procedures and data analysis of sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The training was held at the Laboratory for Medical Microbiology Twente-Achterhoek (Labmicta), in Hengelo, The Netherlands. Oxford Nanopore Technologies supported two days of the training, and the participants also visited the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) for one day.

Background of ‘No More Pandemics’

The project “No more pandemics” aims to set a new standard for the diagnosis of infectious diseases and antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) by ensuring access for all patients to a novel technology to test for all infectious diseases; nanopore sequencing using MinION devices. Nanopore sequencing can be used to characterize the genetic material of micro-organisms, which helps to identify them and determine their drug resistance. In the project, evidence will be generated on the effectiveness, feasibility, acceptability, and costs of using nanopore sequencing for the diagnosis of COVID-19, (drug-resistant) tuberculosis, other infectious diseases, and antimicrobial drug resistance. In the project, KNCV, together with partners, plans to demonstrate the use of this technology in Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania, and Vietnam.

Training of the trainers

Earlier in the year, from 21-23 March 2022, a training of trainers on the nanopore sequencing technology was already held for KNCV’s Dream Fund project. The training was facilitated by Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Fifteen persons were trained on the theory and analysis of nanopore sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Five persons also received a hands-on training on the laboratory procedure of nanopore sequencing of SARS-CoV-2.

KNCV has been fighting TB since its establishment in 1903. Over the past 120 years, the organization has acquired indispensable knowledge and experience in the field of effective TB prevention and care, resulting in pre-elimination in the Netherlands and significant contributions to global evidence generation, policy development and TB program implementation worldwide.

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