The production of guidance for the laboratory sector to prepare for emergency situations

This project will involve preparing a guide for WHO on maintaining diagnostic services in emergency settings. This will include in response to outbreaks and pandemics, but also in natural disasters and conflict zones. The project is a collaboration between the Burnet Institute Health Security Program, Global Diagnostics group, 360biolabs and the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory and WHO reference labs.

It will involve meeting with key personnel involved in health security, outbreak responses and developing national policy for emerging diseases and other emergency situations. It will include a review of existing national and international emergency plans in range of areas related to laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases, in field settings. The research and writing of the draft guidance will be lead by Rose Ffrench, and will be reviewed by international experts before being adopted by WHO.


This project has just commenced but is an example of a new cross-discipline effort in the expansion program of health Security. It involves laboratory scientists, epidemiologists, clinicians, rapid point of care diagnostic development scientists, virologists with expertise in diagnosing emerging infectious diseases, and WHO reference laboratories, along with the expertise in quality managed and NATA accredited assays from 360biolabs.


  • Dr Mike Catton, Director, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratories
  • Dr Ben Cowie, VIDRL
  • Dr Julian Druce, Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • Dr Leon Caly, VIDRL
  • 360biolabs


World Health Organization

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Doctor Ben Coghlan

Leave of absence till Feb 2023