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LNS designated as National Reference Laboratory for acute respiratory infections

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LNS designated as National Reference Laboratory for acute respiratory infections
2021 01-14

The nomination by the Ministry of Health is granted for seven years.

The Laboratoire national de santé (LNS) will be the National Reference Laboratory for acute respiratory infections for the next seven years. A decision to this effect was taken last week by the Ministry of Health and will be valid until January 2028. The nomination of the LNS followed a call for applications issued in September 2020 to nominate the first National Reference Laboratory in Luxembourg under the notifiable infectious diseases regulation (réglement grand-ducal du 15 février 2019).

Built on several pillars

Dr. Tamir Abdelrahman, head of the LNS Microbiology department, explained that this appointment as National Reference Laboratory would consolidate the various activities that the department has undertaken over the past years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic: “This nomination is also a mandate to provide reference functions in the public health microbiology sector and a step forward in coordinating national efforts with the health directorate and partner laboratories. The new National Reference Laboratory will be built on several pillars. It will provide excellent clinical microbiology services, a strong research and development arm to identify the state-of-the-art diagnostic technology to be rolled out to laboratories across the nation, public health microbiology, training and education and international collaboration.”

Perfect timing of nomination

Dr. Trung Nguyen, in charge of the Microbiology department’s virology services, welcomed the perfect timing of the nomination, which comes in just as the department is preparing to expand the national genomics surveillance program, which started in March 2020, to hospitalised patients. Plans are also underway to introduce further phylodynamics studies matching the international standards of data collection: “The implications for the initiative for national seroprevalence studies and vaccination follow-up programs are significant. Although most efforts are directed toward COVID-19, we should also mention that we are currently implementing the “ReViLux” surveillance programme for all respiratory viruses, which will expand to bacterial pathogens in the next phase.”

A recognition of performance

Prof. Dr. Friedrich Mühlschlegel, Director of the LNS, also considers the nomination to be a further recognition of the performance of the entire LNS team and the strategic direction taken since 2018: “Over the past two and a half years, we have developed and implemented a system of values that focuses on patient safety, clinical excellence and our daily work as a team of experts. In addition to professionalism and excellence, our strength also lies in our shared ambition to serve the country and its people. Our nomination as a National Reference Laboratory in a key priority area shows that we are on the right track.”