Training course on laboratory preparedness for emerging respiratory pathogens

24-28 November 2014, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

A 5-day training course for 17 virologists from national influenza centres (NICs) in the WHO European Region is being organized by WHO/Europe in collaboration with 2 Dutch institutions: the Department of Viroscience at Erasmus Medical Center and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

The course will help NICs establish new detection assays for influenza and other emerging respiratory pathogens, such as Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Topics such as assay design, interactions with clinicians and epidemiologists, and biorisk assessment and management will be covered.

NICs are national institutions designated by national ministries and recognized by WHO. They are also part of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network. Amongst other duties, these centres play a vital role in collecting clinical samples and isolating flu viruses, making it possible for WHO to monitor the influenza season each year and make vaccine recommendations.