1 December 2015
SCI's Membership Affairs Committee
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Diagnostics, Facilities and first-hand experience
Diagnosis for EVD has its complications as it can be difficult to distinguish the illness from other viruses, such as malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis. To confirm a diagnosis, tests and investigations need to be undertaken that in themselves can pose an extreme biohazard and working on patient samples must be done in maximum biological containment facilities.
In October 2014 Public Health England commenced laboratory diagnostic testing in Sierra Leone as part of the UK Government response to the Ebola crisis. Dr Collins volunteered for deployment in early November 2014, as the number of weekly cases in Sierra Leone peaked and was deployed as part of Team 1 to Port Loko in the Northern Province of the country. He remained in Sierra Leone for five weeks, as a team of 10, helping to establish the testing laboratory at an Ebola Treatment Centre operated by the Irish charity GOAL. By the end of the deployment over 1000 diagnostic tests had been completed. Dr Collins re-deployed to the Kerry Town Treatment Unit near Freetown in July 2015, leading the PHE laboratory team supporting the Australian company Aspen Medical.
Dr Samuel Collins completed a PhD at the University of Southampton studying bacterial biofilm formation and 3-dimensional structure. His first postdoctoral position was undertaken at the Environmental Health Care Unit at the University of Southampton where he participated in an EU FP7 drinking water decontamination project. In 2013 Sam joined the Biosafety Investigation Unit at Public Health England as a Microbiologist. Sam has undertaken several research projects in the area of water microbiology with a particular focus on diagnostic and detection methods. He has participated in several outbreak investigations related to Legionella and non-tuberculosis mycobacteria. Sam is also an on-call scientist for the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory at PHE Porton responsible for diagnosing a wide range of unusual bacterial and viral pathogens. Sam deployed to Sierra Leone twice during the current Ebola outbreak to help establish and run the PHE diagnostic laboratories.
“This event will be recorded and will be posted on the SCI website. Please note: some members of the audience may be in view during the questions and answers session at the end of the lecture”
10 February, Mr Guy Smith - Are Farmers ’Bee aware’?
30 March, Sir Paul Nurse - The Francis Crick Institute
26 April, Prof David Mottram - Drugs in Sport