Lab Matters Winter 2020 - Page 23

INFECTIOUS DISEASES CDC validated the new YF MAC-HD test kits during the 2016 Angola outbreak and found that the method was easily transferable, and that the kit was sensitive and specific. Now, with support from the Association of Public Health Laboratories, CDC, WHO and Gavi, Basile and Goodman are taking their kits on the road and teaching other laboratorians how to use them. This process is providing further data to validate the use of the YF MAC-HD in the regions where it will be ultimately be deployed. Recent trainings in Cameroon and Senegal included attendees from over 33 African countries. In each of the five-day courses, laboratory staff were trained on molecular and serologic tests for yellow fever. Attendees worked in pairs to observe and perform tests using the new kit. Pre- and post-workshop testing of attendees’ knowledge showed substantial increases in their understanding and ability to run yellow fever diagnostic tests. To reinforce the learning process, attendees were sent home with eight kits and a proficiency panel they could use to practice performing the test in their own labs. These types of trainings are crucial for aligning testing methodologies in the national laboratories across Africa. Not only do the workshops provide valuable face-time for laboratorians to network and address common challenges, they also standardize the diagnostic process. As a result, laboratory capacity to aid in surveillance efforts for yellow fever is improved across the continent. Now the biggest hurdle researchers have is how to manufacture and distribute the kits on a large scale. Thankfully, in an effort to support the laboratory component of the EYE strategy, Gavi has proposed funding to address the difficulties in shipping supplies. When a yellow fever kit is approved for use by WHO, funding is expected to create a market to encourage production. The need is estimated initially at 1,000-2,000 kits per year across Africa and South America, and CDC is working with external manufacturers to create a sustainable supply of the YF MAC-HD kits. This is a challenging process, but Basile notes we are now closer to achieving EYE diagnostic goals. She hopes when the next outbreak happens, laboratory staff will not only have easy-to-use tests available but also the training to use them. Reliable test results will allow the rapid identification of cases before outbreaks get out of control, and will contribute to the elimination of yellow fever epidemics. n APHL membership has benefits. Don’t miss out! Renewal notices will be emailed to current members in April. www.aphl.org/membership PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org TM colLABorate Winter 2020 LAB MATTERS 21