The World Health Organisation (WHO) coordinates a global network of measles and rubella reference laboratories. For many years, LIH has been hosting the Luxembourg National Reference Laboratory for Measles and Rubella as well as a European Regional Reference Laboratory for Measles and Rubella. The laboratory has recently been successfully accredited again based on a thorough quality assessment by WHO representatives.
The European Regional Reference Laboratory for Measles and Rubella in Luxembourg (RRL-Lux), located in LIH’s Department of Infection and Immunity, is one of only three European regional reference laboratories for measles and rubella and oversees the activities of national reference laboratories in 22 countries. Headed by Dr Judith Hübschen, who also leads the Clinical and Applied Virology research group, the RRL-Lux assists the WHO in supervising the national laboratories by providing external quality assurance, expertise and training on diagnosis and disease monitoring to strengthen overall laboratory capacity.
Excellent scores in accreditation review
During an onsite accreditation visit conducted in March 2019, WHO experts assessed the laboratory’s facilities, procedures and working practices, its interaction with the health inspection and other laboratories in the country for epidemiological surveillance, as well as its collaboration with the national reference laboratories that are under its supervision in the European Region.
The review report received end of October documented that the laboratory had achieved a score of 99.3% and that its accreditation was renewed until January 2022. It was underlined that the laboratory operates with excellent technical performance, consistently achieving high scores on all WHO accreditation performance indicators. RRL-Lux masters the full range of serology and molecular techniques for measles and rubella laboratory investigation including sequencing. The reviewers also noted that the technical staff is well trained, highly skilled and working with dedication under effective management and supervision.
WHO European Regional Reference Laboratories meeting
Following the accreditation assessment, LIH hosted the 14th Meeting of the WHO European Regional Reference Laboratories for Measles and Rubella at the House of BioHealth in Esch-sur-Alzette.
At this occasion, Dr Jean-Claude Schmit, Director of Health at the Ministry of Health, gave a welcome speech on behalf of the Minister of Health that was followed by an institutional presentation by Prof Markus Ollert, Director of the Department of Infection and Immunity. During the two-day meeting, Dr Judith Hübschen chaired a session on Regional and Global Updates and presented RRL-Lux activities, measles molecular epidemiology in Luxembourg in 2018 and recent experiences of the RRL-Lux with antibody detection assays. Prof Claude P. Muller, former Head of the RRL-Lux, reported on experiences and challenges encountered in the context of measles and rubella elimination in the Eastern Mediterranean region.