From 5th to 8th of September, Royal GD, Deventer, hosted the first training school on “Monitoring, identification and characterisation of swine influenza A virus” within the WG 1 of the ESFLU- Cost action (“Strengthening the capability in Europe for the identification and characterisation of swine influenza A virus -swIAV-”). The training school was aimed primarily at young scientists who work in veterinary research and are either directly involved in swine influenza surveillance, detection, prevention and control, or have research interest focused on swIAV. The overall aim of the course was to strengthen laboratories’ capacities in these areas. The course attracted great interest, with a total of fourteen participants from different European countries. Invited speakers from Royal GD (Manon Houben and Lucía Dieste Pérez) showed the diagnostics facility of Royal GD to the participants and explained about the role of Royal GD in the monitoring of animal health in the Netherlands, including their experience in the national monitoring program of swine Influenza.
Katrin Lillie-Jaschniski(CEVA Animal Health) shared her extended experience in the diagnostic and control of swine influenza at farm level.
Sasan Fereidouni (University of Vienna) gave some guidelines regarding the sample handling, storage, and transport to national and international laboratories, the role of wildlife in the epidemiology of swine influenza, and also practical session on using LAMP kits in routine diagnostic.
Keiko Watanabe, Tsuyoshi Shindome, Shota Koyano, Kiyokazu Kanemoto, and Yoshitake Minemura from EIKEN (Japan), conducted an online lecture and demonstration on principle and practical steps of LAMP assays.
Annika Graaf-Rau (FLI) presented the different steps and techniques regarding the molecular diagnosis of swine Influenza, including a practical 3rd generation sequencing session with nanopores.
Erhard van de Vries (Royal GD) shared his knowledge on the most advanced techniques for the characterisation of swine influenza strains …
Evelin Germeraad (WBVR) and Mathilde Richard (EMC) gave insights into the serological diagnostics for swine influenza, the principles of antigenic cartography and its role in the monitoring of swine influenza.
Following the theory sessions, practical sessions allowed the participants to follow the different steps of the molecular diagnosis of swine Influenza, a LAMP test themselves and have hands-on training with nanopore sequencing. During these practical sessions there was time for discussions and exchange of experiences.
Successful completion of all sessions was documented with a certificate. This training school was initially a pilot event, where participants had the opportunity to comment on their feedback to improve the course. Participants highlighted the possibilities of networking and discussions during the training, they really enjoyed the practical sessions, and they appreciated the diverse profile of the speakers.
After revision, the course could be repeated for training a broad dispersed professional audience.
We would like to express our sincere thanks for the excellent cooperation with the colleagues from various institutes that contributed either as trainers or trainees, as well as the lively and interactive exchange of knowledge with the course participants. We are glad to be involved in such an important initiative – it was a great success!
Organising Committee: Lucía Dieste Pérez, Annika Graaf-Rau, Sasan Fereidouni, Ronald Dijkman.