Minister of Health, Donville Inniss??

"A watershed moment" is how the new laboratory for testing Influenza A (H1N1) has been described by Health Minister, Donville Inniss.

His comments came RECENTLYas he addressed the handover ceremony of the Influenza Laboratory at the Ladymeade Reference Unit (LRU) on Jemmotts Lane.

??Minister Inniss, said: "The establishment of this molecular testing suite for influenza marks a watershed moment in diagnostic laboratory services for Barbados. The polymer chain reaction (PCR) testing platform can be readily adapted to provide definitive tests for other viruses, from other seasonal influenza strains, to novel influenza strains (like H5N1 bird flu) and other potentially sinister viruses such as SARS."

??He noted it was clear that Barbados was rapidly becoming the diagnostic laboratory capital of the English Speaking Caribbean. ??"This new diagnostic platform [has] added to a growing armament of cutting edge laboratory technologies, now available in Barbados and required to augment and support the disciplines of public health, HIV and STIs, diagnostic medicine, forensics, medical research and veterinary sciences," he asserted.

The Health Minister also provided the background to the lab’s development, explaining that in April 2009, at the start of the flu pandemic, discussions on Barbados doing its own testing were initiated with Dr. Shirley Lecher, Director of the Caribbean Regional Office of the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), located here.

"These discussions were led by Professor Clive Landis from the Chronic Disease Research Centre of the University of the West Indies and under his guidance a risk assessment was carried out at the LRU and necessary infrastructural changes made," he disclosed.

"Special equipment and reagents were identified and procured by the CDC to bring the lab to a Bio-Safety, Level -3 lab, capable of safely receiving and performing diagnostic tests on specimens with airborne microbes, such as influenza and tuberculosis," Mr. Inniss explained.?? He also pointed out that the CDC had further provided technical assistance in the form of training and other logistical planning.??jgill@barbados.gov.bb

Pin It on Pinterest