Series of qPCR STH diagnostic e-training resources published by London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research

06 Sep 2021

The London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research (LCNTDR) is a key partner on the Geshiyaro Project, a five-year research programme that aims to identify the optimal design of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) and schistosomiasis elimination programmes, being carried out in the Wolaita zone in south-east Ethiopia.

LCNTDR is responsible for interpreting, evaluating and documenting the findings of the project, as well as supporting partners to expand their technical capabilities.

Due to restrictions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, LCNTDR has been unable to travel from London to Ethiopia to deliver qPCR laboratory training to the Ethiopian Public Health Institute team.  Instead, they have developed and filmed a virtual training course including all components of qPCR STH diagnostics.  The training is presented in a series of videos covering stool-based DNA extractions, pre-PCR and qPCR preparation, primer and probe resuspension for qPCR assays, qPCR software set-up (with a demo on a StepOne Plus instrument), and demo of a Python script for combining qPCR data; all demonstrated with explanatory instructions and detailed voice over by Marina Papaiakovou. Marina is an expert in qPCR diagnostics and member of WHO’s Diagnostics Technical Advisory Group (DTAG) for Manufacturing and Regulatory Pathways for NTDs.

We intend for this resource to be shared freely and widely and hope teams across the globe will find it useful, not just for training purposes but to also to increase understanding of the length and complexity of molecular diagnostics.

The videos are not a substitution for vigilant laboratory practices and following SOPs, but function as a visual guide of laboratory steps and operations.  Though the choice of reagents, equipment and commercial kits remains specific to the goals of the project (or local cherished laboratory practices!), the principles remain the same.

The development of these videos has been made possible by the support of our funder, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the generous access to laboratory facilities at the Natural History Museum (Dr. Tim Littlewood and Dr. Raju Misra) and the NHM film crew (Eddie Taylor). The protocols these videos are based on were developed at Smith College (USA), with Prof. Steve A. Williams, Dr. Nils Pilotte and Marina Papaiakovou, and were further updated by Marina Papaiakovou whilst employed by the Natural History Museum, London, UK.

Access the free training course here.

Detailed credits:




Marina Papaiakovou

Demo & filming; editing; instructional slides & protocols; script & voice over

Eddie Taylor

Filming; editing; logistical support

Dan Brown

Filming support

Dr. Darren Chooneea

Demo & logistical support

Dr. Raju Misra

NHM access & logistical support

Dr. Tim Littlewood

NHM access & logistical support

Brian Smith

GoPro9 equipment loan

Victoria Carter

Logistical support

Prof. Sir Roy M Anderson

LCNTDR support

Kathryn Forbes

LCNTDR support; film feedback

Dr. Toby Landeryou, Rosie Maddren and Tina Rouse

LCNTDR support; film feedback

Dr. Mihretab M Salasibew & Steve Hallam

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation grant and logistical support