Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 20 July 2023. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has received laboratory equipment to support genomic surveillance at its Medical Microbiology Laboratory for its Member States.
The equipment was procured through the New Variant Assessment Platform, led by United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA). This marks another milestone in CARPHA’s mission to strengthen its systems to better detect and respond to emerging diseases in the Caribbean region.
The items received are two liquid handling instruments namely, the Mosquito® HV, and the Dragonfly Discovery.
Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA. “Our overall collaboration with UKHSA has been very supportive to our work with our Member States. These devices have ensured further strengthening of CARPHA’s gene sequencing capabilities, maintaining the cutting-edge array of laboratory services we provide to our Member States.”
“The acquisition of the instruments will serve to advance our laboratory productivity, shorten turnaround times, and reduce costs per sample. Overall, the instruments will improve sample processing accuracy,” stated Dr. Michelle Hamilton, Head, Laboratory Services and Networks.
The Mosquito® HV is a highly accurate and precise multichannel pipetting system. The Dragonfly Discovery enables innovative, low volume liquid dispensing that is compatible with a wide range of applications including molecular biology and genomics, and biochemical assays.
“Both devices will be used together to increase sequencing capacity by automating some of the preparation steps. These instruments will allow CARPHA to carry out multiple sample runs, and switch between applications with minimal setup required,” explained Ms. SueMin Nathaniel, Manager of Laboratory Services at CARPHA.
The acquisition also included a supply of consumables. Laboratory staff at the CMML will receive training in the use of the instruments.
During the first half of 2023, CARPHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UKHSA. The agreement builds on a long-term collaboration to improve regional health security across the Caribbean. The MoU includes commitments to define strategies for combatting infectious disease threats, non- communicable diseases, strengthening outbreak response, building laboratory and workforce capacity, and improving healthy safer tourism. There is specific emphasis on genomic surveillance of high priority pathogens which emerged as a new service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Laboratory technicians receive training in the use of liquid handling instruments