The Lab Without Walls: A Deployable Approach to Tropical Infectious Diseases

Timothy J. J. Inglis School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia; Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, PathWest Laboratory Medicine, Nedlands, Western Australia; Royal Australian Army Medical Corps, Keswick, South Australia

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The Laboratory Without Walls is a modular field application of molecular biology that provides clinical laboratory support in resource-limited, remote locations. The current repertoire arose from early attempts to deliver clinical pathology and public health investigative services in remote parts of tropical Australia, to address the shortcomings of conventional methods when faced with emerging infectious diseases. Advances in equipment platforms and reagent chemistry have enabling rapid progress, but also ensure the Laboratory Without Walls is subject to continual improvement. Although new molecular biology methods may lead to more easily deployable clinical laboratory capability, logistic and technical governance issues continue to act as important constraints on wider implementation.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Timothy J. J. Inglis, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (M504), The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia. E-mail: tim.inglis@uwa.edu.au

Financial support: The author gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Government of Western Australia (MERIWA), the World Health Organization, Lab Without Walls, and the Rotary Clubs of Western Australia.

Author's address: Timothy J. J. Inglis, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia, E-mail: tim.inglis@uwa.edu.au.

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