In light of the continuing threat posed by Zika virus, the U.S. and Taiwan has co-organized the three-day International Training Workshop on Molecular Diagnosis for Zika on April 13, 2016, which will discuss a three-in-one laboratory test for Zika, dengue and chikungunya that is capable of providing results for the three vector-borne diseases in three hours and will be an important diagnosis tool used in Taiwan in the future.
Under the US-Taiwan Global Cooperation Training Framework (GCTF), this Zika laboratory diagnosis workshop is hosted for participants in the Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia regions in order to strengthen the regional capacity to address public health threats. Several distinguished guests, including the Minister of Health and Welfare Chiang Been-huang (蔣丙煌), the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Kin Moy, and the Vice President-elect Chen Jien-ren (陳建仁) were also in attendance.
The workshop lecturers are three experts from the U.S. and Japan, including Dr. Shieh Wun-ju (謝文儒) and Dr. Julu Bhatnagar of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) and Dr. Shigeru Tajima of Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (Japan NIID). Among them, Dr. Shieh from US CDC is the first expert who performed pathology diagnosis of the microcephaly case in Brazil and Dr. Tajima from Japan NIID is the first expert in Japan who has successfully isolated Zika virus. In addition, an expert from the U.S. will be introducing the three-in-one laboratory test for Zika, dengue and chikungunya, which will help improve the participating countries’ capacity for laboratory diagnosis.
Since the first imported case of Zika virus infection was detected at the airport in Taiwan on January 10, 2016, as of April 10, 2016, a total of 1,549 suspected cases have been tested and no other cases of Zika virus infection have been identified. Taiwan CDC’s Research and Diagnostic Center is already capable of performing the viral serology, molecular diagnostic, and diagnostic virology tests for Zika virus. When the three-in-one laboratory test for Zika, dengue and chikungunya becomes available in Taiwan, the Center will be able to diagnose the three vector-borne infectious diseases at the same time.
This workshop is yet another collaboration between the U.S. and Taiwan after having successfully co-hosted the previous three workshops on Ebola, MERS-CoV and dengue fever. 25 laboratory professionals coming from 12 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, are participating in the workshop. The workshop aimed to enrich the participants’ their skills in laboratory diagnosis for Zika, effectively bolster the regional capacity to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases, establish multilateral collaboration in order to strengthen global health security and tackle threats posed by infectious diseases together.