The Veterinary Research Department – Special Pathogens Unit (VRD-SPL) trained Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratories (RADDLs) and local government units (LGUs) on rabies diagnosis in the Intensive Training Course on Rabies Direct Fluorescent Antigen Test (DFAT) last September 2-6, 2019 at the RITM Training Center.
Rabies dFAT is a diagnostic test in which brain tissue is kept with fluorescent or glowing rabies antibodies. The fluorescent antibodies will then fuse with the rabies virus proteins or antigens if the brain sample is indeed infected with the virus. Under a fluorescence microscope, the antigens will then be observable as a stain, allowing for a positive rabies diagnosis.
To ensure the participants’ and facilitators’ biosafety during the course, Science Research Specialist Rommel Gil Madrid first discussed biorisk management in a rabies diagnostic laboratory as well as the proper handling and disposal of laboratory waste.
Meanwhile, Science Research Specialist Joselito Dilig demonstrated how to gather epidemiological data, which is important to attribute the samples’ test results to their respective case incidences and distribution.
Senior Science Research Specialist Dr. Criselda Bautista followed with a lecture on the procedure and precautions of prosection, the process in which an animal’s head is dissected to extract brain tissue.
VRD-SPL Section Head Dr. Catalino Demetria proceeded with an overview of the use of dFAT for rabies diagnosis. Bacteriologist Leilanie Nacion also tackled the equipment and reagents needed to conduct dFAT while Science Research Specialist Mary Glazel Biocarles taught the participants how to properly stain slides for the dFAT.
Madrid and Biocarles demonstrated the proper donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hand disinfection as well.
The second to fourth day of training was dedicated for participants to apply the knowledge they gained in the lectures through laboratory sessions on reagent preparation for fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) optimization and conjugate diluent; prosection, smear, and fixation; staining and rinsing; and microscopy.
On the last day, the participants were subjected to a microscopy exam and post-test to evaluate whether the knowledge and skills taught in the training were fully absorbed.