The PacMAN team from the Institute of Applied Sciences visited the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji’s technical and laboratory facility based in Koronivia, Nausori. The visit was scheduled following the official signing of an Operational Arrangement Agreement between IAS-USP and BAF on the 10th of November 2021. The IAS team consisted of the local PacMAN Project Manager Mr. Joape Ginigini, Mrs. Paayal Kumar (Project Assistant-IAS) and Ms. Miriama Vuiyasawa (Laboratory Technician-IAS) and the visit was facilitated by BAF’s Senior Veterinary Officer Dr. Chaminda Dissanayake. The visit consisted and included a tour of the laboratory facility, in particular of the qPCR unit. Dr. Dissanayake provided a brief introduction to the qPCR unit, its features and the protocols currently utilized by their team. The team was also introduced to other facilities and thus, will also have access to their Class II Biosafety cabinets (for DNA extractions), storage units (-80 °C and -20 °C), centrifuge, thermocyclers, gel documentation system and sterilization units. Discussions pertaining to the number of samples requiring analysis under the PacMAN project was also addressed as the laboratory will simultaneously accommodate other BAF projects. The staff members from IAS will be provided access to the lab and will be accompanied by one of the BAF technicians. The team also had a discussion on the availability of consumables and the preparations that the PacMAN team requires in order to conduct the analysis. Dr. Dissanayake assured that the BAF team will provide full support to facilitate the IAS team in the PacMAN project as it will be a learning-learning situation for both the teams. Further, the IAS team understands and will follow all the rules and restrictions in place to keep the covid protocols intact whilst accessing the BAF Lab facility.
The high-class quantitative real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) analysis is an integral part of the scientific technique and it would necessitate the appropriate equipment needed for the trial study. Therefore, the qPCR facility provided by BAF will assist to progress the projects planned deliverables and will also provide an opportunity for both the institutions to build technical capacity.