Training improves European laboratories’ capacity to detect influenza
As part of work to strengthen capacities for influenza diagnosis and surveillance in the WHO European Region, WHO/Europe conducted the annual training for laboratory staff on influenza virology in St Petersburg, Russian Federation, on 25–29 November 2013.
The aim was to provide experts with comprehensive skills to culture and characterize the antigenic profiles of circulating strains of human influenza virus. The course was given at the Research Institute of Influenza of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, a WHO-recognized national influenza centre. Participants from national influenza laboratories in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova and Uzbekistan attended.
The topics addressed during the week-long course included the collection, storage and transport of specimens, the isolation of viruses in cell culture and the identification of the haemagglutinin subtypes of viral isolates by hemagglutination-inhibition testing. The programme not only included lectures but also focused heavily on practical sessions with hands-on training.