In the period from 27 – 29 May 2019. a World Health Organization (WHO) expert team conducted a mission to evaluate the Laboratory of Virology and Molecular Diagnosis at the Institute of Public Health (IPH) in order to verify the capacity of the laboratory and the state to become a member of the Global Monitoring System and influenza response and the WHO’s global network of recognized national influenza centers (NIC = National Influenza Center).

The WHO mission confirmed that the Laboratory for Virology and Molecular Diagnostics headed by Associate Professor Dr. Shaban Memeti, Director of IPH and Associate Professor. Dr. Golubinka Bosevska, Head of Laboratory, fully meets WHO standards. The Laboratory is recognized as the National Influenza Center and has become an equal member of the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISCRS).

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It is a very important recognition for the Macedonian public health in terms of the quality of the diagnostics and the results obtained from this laboratory. The WHO’s high standards are met in terms of educated staff, equipment, operating techniques, reagents, and laboratory safety levels for a prompt, timely and reliable diagnosis of not only all seasonal human and animal influenza viruses, but also other viral, highly pathogenic agents of public health significance equivalent to those of other National Influenza Centers in Europe and the world.

This lab is actively involved in predicting the flu strains that will circulate in North Macedonia and Europe and in determining the strains that will be involved in the development of next season’s flu vaccines. Thus our country is directly involved in the prevention of influenza.

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The Laboratory of Virology and Molecular Diagnosis is the country’s reference laboratory for the detection of viral diseases, including influenza, measles and rubella, arboviruses (West Nile virus, tick-borne encephalitis virus, Zika virus, etc.) of haemorrhagic fever (hantavirus, Crimean Congo fever) etc.

The process of upgrading the capacity of the laboratory is continuous, in particular with the intensification of cooperation with WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Atlanta), the Association of Public Health Laboratories of the United States, the Center for Infectious Disease Control and Control. Southeast Europe (SEFID) and other international partners who provided education and technical-technological assistance in developing the capacity of this laboratory.