The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) is the national public health institute of South Africa, providing reference microbiology, virology, epidemiology, surveillance and public health research and training to support the government’s response to communicable disease threats.
The NICD assists in the planning of policies and programmes to support communicable disease control and elimination efforts, and provides numerous specialised diagnostic services. A critical role of the NICD is to respond to outbreaks through the Outbreak Response Unit and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The NICD houses biosafety level (BSL) 3 laboratories and the only suited high-containment BSL 4 laboratory in Africa, making it a premier research, surveillance and diagnostics institution in the area of communicable diseases.
The Sequencing Core Facility at the NICD conducts next-generation sequencing for diagnosis and outbreak support. Several NICD laboratories are World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating partners, providing reference diagnostic services and surveillance for communicable diseases such as influenza, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis and measles, among others. Surveillance for malaria and arbovirus vectors is a key function of the NICD, which also houses five insectaries for culturing a wide range of mosquito species that are of public health importance.
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