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NATIONAL VIROLOGY REFERENCE LABORATORY (NVRL)

National Virology Reference Laboratory was established in May 2017 by the Ministry of Health (MOH) with the mandate of offering referral laboratory services, outbreak investigation and overseeing all quality assurance programs for virological testing in the country.
Mission
To provide quality, reliable, timely, laboratory data and information to support disease outbreak investigation and control, patients management, public health research, training and national health policy formulation.
The core mandate of the lab is to perform the following;
1. Be at the forefront of public health surveillance and outbreak response for emerging and re-emerging infections of viral etiologies
2. Provide quality assurance in laboratory testing of viral and associated infections in the country through activities such as EQA provision, lot-to-lot testing of reagents and kits, training on existing and novel assays and protocols, equipment and assay validation, etc
3. Perform specialized testing such as pathogen genotyping, RT-PCR and serological investigations otherwise not routinely available in health facilities
4. Provide guidance, oversight and coordination for quality human sample collection, transportation, storage and referral in the country
5. Participate in national guidelines and policy formulation in strategic programs in line with the MOH strategic plan

Recent milestones
1. The lab continues to provide laboratory data and diagnostics support to field teams, emergency operations committees and other stakeholders in the response to outbreaks caused by emerging and re-emerging viruses and other pathogens in the country. Currently, we have tested several hundreds of samples for Rift Valley fever virus, responsible for the on-going outbreak affecting humans and animals in several counties in Kenya. Molecular testing (RT-PCR) for RVFV is a new test in the ever expanding testing menu in the lab which will be pivotal to the country’s efforts for outbreak preparedness and response. Other tests include zika, chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, and hepatitis viruses. Tests for viruses associated with opportunistic infections among HIV-infected individuals are also available.

Upcoming activities
1. The National Virology Reference Lab is in the process of strengthening its quality systems through the implementation of quality management systems (GCLPs, ISO 15189:2012 and ISO 17043:2010)
2. Further expansion of the testing menu by operationalizing the biosafety level 3 (BSL3) lab and
Strengthening capacity for diagnosis and quality testing