WHO TB Supranational Reference Laboratory Network (SRLN)

Since 1994 the SRLN continues to be a key technical resource in support to the strengthening of the laboratory capacity in countries. Under WHO coordination and support, the SRLN has expanded from initial 14 to actual 31 Supranational Reference Laboratories (SRLs) and four National Centres of Excellence (NCE-SRL), largely driven by regional initiatives and institutional interest in joining the WHO SRLN network. 

The SRLN is a structure which delivers co-ordination, identifies synergies among individual SRLs and serves as a platform to:

  1. Assist National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) in the implementation of the WHO policy guidance on TB diagnostics, diagnostic algorithms, and laboratory norms and standards using GLI endorsed recording and reporting systems and other laboratory tools;

  2. Disseminate WHO guidance on biosafety requirements and quality management systems for national level TB reference laboratories and laboratory networks;

  3. Facilitate sharing of standardized technical reports from all technical assistance missions to counties with in-country partners;

  4. Provide standardized quality assurance testing for microscopy, culture, drug susceptibility testing of M. tuberculosis and molecular methods as needed;

  5. Co-ordinate among individual SRLs comparative evaluations of diagnostic tests and define priorities for evaluation of different as needed; 

  6. Oversee the pathway for the development of standardized protocols to test drug susceptibility against new and existing anti-tuberculosis drugs; 

  7. Advocate with National TB Programmes to help ensure diagnosis and treatment of TB and drug resistant cases are aligned.