Burnet to advise WHO on global emergency guidelines for labs

Burnet Institute

12 December, 2017

Burnet Institute researchers have been appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to lead the development of a new global framework for the emergency preparedness of laboratories.

The project aims to develop universal guidelines that will safeguard laboratory capacity and operations in emergency situations.

“It’s around keeping laboratories going in all types of emergencies, about assessing, for example, what assays might be appropriate given that we might not have power or fresh water or refrigeration,” Chief Investigator, Associate Professor Rosemary Ffrench said.

“It needs to be a plan that can work in the United States when hurricane Katrina goes through and knocks out their diagnostic labs, or during a large epidemic in settings that don’t have anywhere near those resources.”

A joint collaboration with the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratories (VIDRL) and 360biolabs, the project brings together laboratory scientists, public health practitioners, diagnostic laboratory staff, infectious disease specialists, and translational scientists developing field deployable diagnostics.

The team has extensive expertise in public health in emergency settings, outbreak investigations, biosafety and biosecurity, communicable disease surveillance, and the review and development of national and global health policies.

Burnet Program Director, Health Security, Dr Ben Coghlan said the work is a testament to Burnet’s know-how in these diverse fields.

“It’s an example of how Burnet can draw from and combine different disciplines to address global health security concerns,” Dr Coghlan said.

“Our comprehensive approach to this project also showcases the depth of expertise in Melbourne with collaborations with VIDRL and 360biolabs to bring together the best of Victorian public and private sectors to strengthen laboratory systems worldwide.”

Find out more about Burnet’s Health Security projects.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Doctor Ben Coghlan

Leave of absence till Feb 2023




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