Training to Solve the Infectious Disease Puzzle

“How do we prevent the next pandemic?” requires continued education and collaboration.

Training to Solve the Infectious Disease Puzzle
Diagnostics Testing | June 14, 2022

When you’re putting a puzzle together, you need all its pieces. Each is important to complete the picture. Otherwise, you’ll be left with gaps.

Science is an ongoing puzzle that demands scientific experts to analyze the world around them to get the full picture of the world we live in. This is particularly important for infectious disease work. To protect global health, it’s helpful to study viruses from our past and present to plan for the future.

When it comes to preventing the next pandemic, bringing scientists together from multiple backgrounds and countries is important to form that cohesive image. Recently, scientists from Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition partner sites came to Abbott Park, IL to connect with their peers and to learn about best practices for viral surveillance and discovery.

“The goal of having the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition partners’ scientists onsite is to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing between our team of scientists to build a network of collaborators across the world for decades to come,” said Dr. Gavin Cloherty, head of infectious disease research at Abbott and the Coalition.

Putting the Pieces Together
When you’re hunting and fighting viruses, international collaboration is crucial. The next virus of pandemic potential can appear anywhere, so it’s critical to surveil viruses globally through on-the-ground efforts and sharing the findings. Using the latest technology and methodologies to find those viral needles in the haystack can expedite the work and response from local virus hunters.


“The training that I’m getting this week is very important because it enables us to strengthen and expand our capabilities in analyzing metagenomic data from viral specimens,” said Marina Farrel, a microbiologist and immunologist from Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. “I can take what I learn here and share it with my scientists at home so it can be applied not only to Pandemic Defense Coalition projects but other infectious disease work we have ongoing in our institute and country.”

Abbott scientists hosted a training session for the visiting Coalition scientists to demonstrate the process of viral analysis – from receiving a patient sample to processing it, preparing it for sequencing, analyzing the virus’s genetic makeup, and running the samples on Abbott diagnostic instruments – all with the goal of sending them home with the firsthand training needed to hunt, identify and track viruses in their own backyards.

Pandemics like COVID-19 and epidemics like HIV have taught us that global collaboration between experts, such as field epidemiologists, immunologists, and virologists, is necessary to address the infectious diseases of today and tomorrow. Today, 14 partners across five continents serve as eyes on the ground, contributing their research findings to the global community and sounding the alarm for new disease outbreaks.

The Grandmasters of Virus Surveillance

Bringing scientists from around the world to train in one lab opens the door to deeper collaboration. Each scientific expert brings their own piece of the puzzle thanks to their unique research experiences and their country’s infectious disease history, minimizing gaps in their peers’ knowledge and continuing to learn more to become even more informed.

Together, international scientific experts can unify for continued education and for preventing the next pandemic through a global network.

The picture is getting clearer.

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