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European Mobile Laboratory Inventory Database

As demonstrated by the recent SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and by numerous outbreaks of viral haemorrhagic fevers in Africa (such as Ebola, Marburg Virus, etc.) rapid and accurate diagnostic tests are not only crucial for evidence based, individual patient care, but also for efficient outbreak management by national public health agencies.  Mobile laboratories can assist in national and regional responses to epidemics and play a crucial role in pandemic activities.

Supported Use Cases

An European Mobile Laboratory Inventory Database

Outbreaks in Europe and globally occur sporadically and mostly in remote areas. Especially emerging arboviruses and haemorrhagic fever viruses of group 4, require BSL-4 capacity, which is often not available at the site of the outbreak or in a country at all. Samples to be transported from the outbreak area to centralised national or regional reference Laboratories for diagnosis – a time-consuming process that can last days. A are mobile laboratories that can be rapidly deployed to outbreak sites and dramatically reduce the sample turn-out-around time from sample reception to diagnosis from days to several hours. Such a shortened time to patient diagnosis will not only benefit patient treatment, but also interrupt chains of transmission early and contain the outbreak. Although incredibly useful (especially in cross-border epidemics), mobile laboratories are still a scarce resource, even in Europe.

To facilitate future, concerted mobile laboratory deployments across Europe, we established a “European Mobile Laboratory Inventory Database” which is currently under further curation and validation. National agencies and other relevant stakeholders that coordinate laboratory activities in to epidemics can access this inventory. Using this resource, they can orchestrate mobile laboratory responses and will have access to a verified pool of trained and qualified operators.

Through a literature and Internet search we identified 187 mobile laboratories in Europe and associated countries between 2007-2021. We captured the purpose of each laboratory (civilian/military); the laboratory platform (suitcase/light self sustained/heavy duty container); BSL-level 2-4; diagnostic equipment (PCR/ELISA/etc.); diagnostic portfolio (bacterial/viral/parasites/One Health); implemented QMS (LIMS/partial/none); turn-around-time for sample processing; and other laboratory performance indicators.

As part of the validation, we intend to contact all named owners/corresponding authors of each identified mobile laboratory project and confirm whether the mobile laboratory is still operational, whether captured variables are still valid or updating, and how many trained operators are still available (including their skills level and contact details). Whether a mobile laboratory project in the inventory was already contacted and evaluated is highlighted. New mobile laboratory initiatives will be prospectively added so that the inventory will be constantly updated, and the hosts of the inventory are encouraging mobile laboratory initiatives to register. The hosts of the inventory can be contacted through the Portfolio of Solutions. With the final goal to have a global database, the inventory is currently being extended to Africa, and will allow the harmonisation of mobile laboratory activities across continents. 

Related CM functions

Container Based mobile laboratory
eu Portfolio of Solutions web site has been initially developed in the scope of DRIVER+ project. Today, the service is managed by AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH., for the benefit of the European Management. PoS is endorsed and supported by the Disaster Competence Network Austria (DCNA) as well as by the STAMINA and TeamAware H2020 projects.