Project Activities
April 1, 2020

COVID-19 lab support

COMBAT-AMR is supporting Pacific Island Countries with implementation of laboratory diagnostics for COVID-19, in collaboration with The Pacific Community and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security. The sub-project is being implemented by a team of experts across three major public health, reference and diagnostic laboratories at the Doherty Institute.

Implementation of molecular diagnostic testing for COVID-19

Advice on building renovations, procurement, validation and set up of equipment and consumables has been provided to enable the implementation of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Samoa and Nauru. This work has been closely aligned with the support for purchase of materials for molecular diagnostics provided by both DFAT and other regional organisations.

Evaluation of emerging point of care tests

We have conducted evaluation that supports the implementation of point-of-care molecular diagnostics and point-of care serology tests in Pacific Island Countries. The project team will provide advice on the integration of new technology with existing capability, protocol development, quality of results, ease of use, and technical support for testing and confirmation.

Laboratory quality and biosafety

To ensure molecular diagnostic testing is accessible in Pacific Island Countries, positive control materials have been provided to key diagnostic laboratories. These materials are required for validation of testing for SARS-CoV-2. Support for testing of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) will be provided by a comprehensive validation panel to six Pacific Islands Countries. The project has worked closely with The Pacific Community to advise on quality and safety as required, in line with  international standards.

Laboratory staff training and capacity building

Ongoing remote training sessions are being provided online to regional laboratories to support testing of COVID-19 at diagnostic laboratories. The training has included the development and delivery of videos, webinars and manuals for laboratory staff to support implementation of PCR workflows and techniques locally. Mentoring and troubleshooting support is available to laboratory staff, including webinars for diagnostic testing, and development of guidance documents and protocols to support capacity building.

Behind the scenes filming COVID-19 laboratory capacity training videos.
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Our Work

COMBAT-AMR will deliver a program of work during 2019 – 2022 at major national sites, including referral hospitals and laboratories, across four key themes.

Infection Prevention and Control

COMBAT-AMR will improve Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) by establishing best practice policies, procedures and systems for monitoring selected healthcare associated infections through training and mentoring.

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Antimicrobial Stewardship

COMBAT-AMR will provide training and mentorship to build capacity for improved measurement and ongoing monitoring of the appropriateness of antibiotic use, as well as the capability to manage antimicrobial stewardship and respond to emerging issues.

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Laboratory Capacity and Surveillance

COMBAT-AMR will improve capacity for laboratory surveillance of AMR through training and mentoring activities to detect AMR in an accurate and timely manner, to undertake surveillance of WHO AMR priority pathogens, and to establish efficient referral pathways for AMR pathogens.

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Animal Health‍

COMBAT-AMR will help mitigate the threat of antimicrobial resistance arising using a One Health approach, by assessing current practices, policies, procedures and systems for monitoring and controlling antimicrobial resistance in animal health and developing approaches to address needs through training and mentoring.

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