Under the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT)Global Cooperation and Training Framework (TECRO-AIT GCTF), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) and the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) co-organized the "International Training Course on Molecular Diagnosis for MERS-CoV" held at the Center for Infectious Disease Control and Prevention in Tainan City, Taiwan during August 12-14, 2015. Experts from both agencies served as the lecturers of the training course. A total of17 laboratory professionals from 9 countries in the Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia regions participated in the training course.
The course was designed to strengthen the participatingcountries' laboratory diagnostic capacities and help prepare the laboratoryprofessionals in the region with the tools needed to respond to challengesposed by MERS-CoV. Moreover, the training course is also in line with the corecapacity requirements for surveillance and response described in theInternational Health Regulations (2005) and the goal of the Global HealthSecurity Agenda (GHSA) Action Packages to promptly detect and diagnose emerginginfectious disease pathogens such as SARS or MERS coronavirus, prevent diseasetransmission and ensure global health security.
This is yet another collaboration between the U.S. andTaiwan since the "Training Course for Preparing Healthcare Workers to Work inEbola Treatment Units" co-hosted by the two nations in this March and also thefirst training course organized after the TECRO-AIT GCTF was signed on June 1,2015. US CDC sent four experts to participate in the training course as thelecturers, including two nosocomial infection prevention and control expertsand two molecular laboratory professionals. The training course includedlectures by the experts and hands-on exercises that cover topics such asepidemiology, preparedness and infection control of MERS-CoV, moleculardiagnosis of MERS-CoV, nucleic acid extraction platform, RT-PCR, and laboratorybiosafety. Hands-on practice on RT-PCR was also part of the training course.Some of the reagents used during the hands-on exercises were brought to Taiwanby the lecturers from US CDC.
17 laboratory professionals coming from countries in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia region, including Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam participated in the training course. The training course aimed to enrich the participants' knowledge in disease prevention and control, train their skills in testing for MERS-CoV, provide an opportunity for them to interact and discuss issues of mutual concerns with one another, and establish a laboratory network in the Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia regions that coul doffer more collaboration opportunities and effectively increase the regional capacity to respond to infectious diseases.