A workshop on molecular epidemiology techniques for rabies was led by a team from the OIE Reference Laboratory for Rabies in China P.R. Participants from six Members in the region took part in the training, with the objective to strengthen capacity for epidemiology of rabies.
Rabies is one of the deadliest zoonoses and is endemic throughout much of Asia. Changchun Veterinary Research Institute (CVRI) in China P.R. is an OIE Reference Laboratory for Rabies, which has led several hands-on laboratory training workshops in Asia and the Pacific in recent years. Understanding the epidemiology of rabies in the region lags behind, with little data known to track the source of rabies virus (RABV).
The Members selected for this workshop (Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam) took part in CVRI-led “hands-on training” workshops either in China P.R. or in their own country within the previous five years.
The training began in earnest even before the workshop. Participants received a manual on free molecular epidemiology techniques (MET) software packages (MEGA® and BioEdit®) to allow them to become somewhat familiar with the platforms. The workshop was a mixture of short presentations and practice sessions. Participants gave very informative reports on the current situation of rabies in their countries. Training on MET included a series of introductory presentations from the CVRI team before progressing to “practical” sessions with exercises using MET software. Using the software, trainees practiced running sequence analyses real time during the workshop.
A follow-up session on December 3 gave an opportunity to provide troubleshooting advice and for participants to share progress on related molecular epidemiology of RABV in their country. The first workshop on MET was provided for a relatively small number of participants to allow time for answers/explanations as they worked through the materials and practical session. It is hoped to provide more training sessions in the future.