2,000 samples were collected and tested during the influenza season of October 2006 through February 2007.
A site visit team of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee for the Assessment of DoD-GEIS Influenza Surveillance and Response Programs visited NHRC on March 26-27, 2007.1 A list of the people met and interviewed and the itinerary followed can be found at the end of this chapter.
Administrative support for NRDL is provided by the DoD Center for Deployment Health Research at the time of the IOM review. However, in August of 2007, the Respiratory Disease Laboratory became an independent department at HHRC, Department of Respiratory Diseases Research. DoD-GEIS funding makes up more than 90 percent of the NRDL budget and is used for special projects and capital improvements.
NRDL staff is composed of both Navy personnel and civilians. The GEIS-related projects at NRDL are managed by the laboratory director, co-director, and several study coordinators, who receive input from the project staff, including two Ph.D. consultants, a consulting pathologist, epidemiologists, a statistician, 16 full-time technicians, 7 off-site study coordinators, and 5 staff members dedicated to quality assurance and control.
The IOM committee commends the NRDL leadership for devoting both time and personnel to important aspects of diagnostic testing, that is, exploring new and advanced diagnostic platforms and incoming technologies, maintaining a high level of quality control, and being open to new and improved methodologies that promote faster and more accurate test results.
The laboratory information-management system used by the NHRC is an Access-based program designed specifically for the laboratory. The system operates well for the laboratory. Efforts are underway to find a bar-coding system that is compatible with and can be incorporated into the existing systems.
Prior to the committee’s visit to NHRC, the laboratory staff provided the committee with detailed background information on NHRC and the pandemic/avian influenza activities it was supporting. These materials were used in the writing of this chapter and are available from the IOM in the Public Access File.