Practical courses on influenza laboratory techniques

Training at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza (WHO CC)

The WHO CC at the National Institute for Medical Research, London, United Kingdom provides training for virologists from national influenza centres (NICs) around the world on a regular basis. Each training lasts about 2 weeks and is tailored to the specific needs of the trainee. WHO/Europe supports the training of 4 virologists from NICs in the European Region each year.

Training at NIC in St Petersburg improves European laboratories’ capacity to detect influenza

To strengthen the capacities for influenza diagnosis and surveillance in the eastern European countries, the NIC in St Petersburg conducts annual practical training for laboratory staff. Since 2011, 30 virologists from NICs in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation and Uzbekistan have been trained on the collection, storage and transport of specimens, the molecular detection of influenza viruses, the isolation of viruses in cell culture and the identification of the haemagglutinin subtypes of viral isolates by hemagglutination-inhibition testing.

Twinning activities

WHO/Europe supports twinning between individual NICs to promote the development of specific skills and close working relationships. The first long-term arrangement between the NIC in Almaty, Kazakhstan and the NIC in St Petersburg, Russian Federation, was initiated in 2013 and focuses on genetic characterization of influenza viruses. This has resulted in improved capacity at the Almaty NIC in molecular diagnostic techniques, sequencing analysis and bioinformatics.