BRTI laboratory is the key department of the BRTI institute. It is registered with Health Professions Council and is accredited for ISO 15189 standards of operation. It obtained its accreditation certificate from SADCAS in 2015. For Quality assurance, the laboratory subscribes to both the Zimbabwe National Quality Assurance Programme (ZINQAP) and several External Quality Assurance schemes which include, College of American Pathologist (CAP), Medical Research Council (MRC) of South Africa, National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) South Africa, and INSTAND in Germany. The laboratory also demonstrate required competence for AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) protocols and has a DAIDS certificate. All laboratory and research staff members are ethics and GCLP certified. The laboratory provides relevant laboratory investigations of all projects encompassed in the four major BRTI units, namely Health Systems Research, Biomedical Research, Epidemiology and Veterinary Research. The laboratory complements national diagnostic services in providing laboratory tests that are not otherwise routine but have become available within the framework of its activities, and these include HIV testing, CD4 counts, Viral loads, processing for medical bacteriology i.e. sexually transmitted infections (STIs), blood cultures, parasitology, gastro and respiratory infections.
The laboratory has and continues to provide facilities and supervision for on-bench training for students fulfilling various academic qualifications, undergraduates and postgraduates, registered at various national universities and tertiary colleges as part of its social obligations. The laboratory designs, organizes and runs short laboratory oriented developmental courses for researchers, students and laboratory.
The BRTI laboratory has five main departments.
This is a cross cutting unit, in which molecular assays are being done for detection, quantification of Viral loads, detection of Anti Retro Viral resistance (ARV) HIV genes, due to mutations that may be developed due to poor treatment adherence among other factors and subsequent sequencing for the specific resistance mutational changes.
This laboratory was formally housed at the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NMRL) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) to carry out capacity building of the NMRL personnel on TB diagnostic technics and eventually set up the country’s second National TB laboratory.
This laboratory unit processes clinical samples that require micro bacterial cultures, carries out species identification, drug sensitivity testing of culture isolates and also does parasitology and mycology. National surveys on aetiology of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) have been evaluated.
This unit performs immunological investigations including ELISPOT assay, serum and or cell storage preparation for future serological or genetic work. The serology department which has extensive experience in HIV testing, has conducted evaluation exercises on new diagnostic tests and strategies as well as immunological research in HIV
BRTI owns stored sera, Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), packed red cells, Buffy coats, Drug resistant TB isolates etc, which is a foot into the preparation for Bio-banking for genetic work. This however, requires the continued service and insurance of upgrading of the equipment such as -20 to -80oC freezers and maintenance of the cold space