Laboratory Services

The BRTI laboratory is registered with Health Professions Council and also accredited for ISO 15189 standards of operation. For quality assurance, the lab subscribes to both the Zimbabwe National Quality Assurance Programme & several External Quality Assurance schemes which include,  National Health Laboratory Services of South Africa and INSTAND in Germany

Blood tests for detection of body


The fourth department is the Serology, cell culture and immunology laboratory which 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. Blood tests for detection of body defensive mechanism to microorganisms

• HIV tests

• Elisa tests

• DNA extraction and storage


• CD4 tests

• Rapid HIV and Malaria tests


Molecular Diagnostics

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. The laboratory has advocated to have amplification and sequencing to be established at the same site. Previously, the amplification and sequencing were located at a different site in Harare, due to lack of space in the current building infrastructure and thus the current plans to build a dedicated laboratory building.  Activities include:

a) Genotyping

  • Ribotyping,
  • Spoligotyping,
  • Restriction Fragment Length Polymophysm (RFLP)  
  • IS200 typing
  • Enterobacterial  Repetitive Intergenic Consensus (ERIC) PCR
  • Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) etc.

b) Drug Resistance testing e.g. HIV DR, OLA

TB Diagnostics

The Tuberculosis (TB) laboratory was previously 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 TB diagnostics testing and training of the NMRL personnel and to eventually set up the country’s second National TB laboratory.  Through this MoU BRTI was responsible for the running of a Bio-Safety Category lll TB laboratory in collaboration with the MoHCC, where TB culture, identification and drug susceptibility testing (DST) were performed.  Apart from capacity building, the BRTI TB Lab unit also contributes towards the national TB Drug Resistance statistics.  The laboratory is now housed at number 10 Seagrave Road Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe. Since the relocation to the new site the laboratory is currently running the following methods for TB diagnosis;


         -Fluorescent staining – Auramine

         -Ziehl Nielsen staining

• Culture

          -Solid LJ

           -Manually read MGIT

 Drug Susceptibility Testing (DST)

          -1st and 2nd line TB DST on solid agar

•Microscopic Observation Drug Susceptibility (MODS) Assay

 GeneXpert – Ultra

Rapid methods for the detection of TB (LAM Fuji) and TB drug resistance using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) are being evaluated.

• HIV tests

• Elisa tests

• DNA extraction and storage


• CD4 tests

• Rapid HIV and Malaria tests


Microbiology Laboratory Activities

General Microbiology lab which process culture, identification and drug sensitivity testing of bacterial diseases and also does parasitology and mycology. National surveys on aetiology of STIs have been evaluated. Research studies to carry out Microbiome analysis are underway. Activities include:

• Culture and identification of microbes.

• Antimicrobial susceptibility of pathogenic microbes.

• Water testing for faecal contaminants



In 2005 and again in 2010 the BRTI successfully competed for an NIH/FIC International Clinical Operational Health Service Research Training Award in HIV & TB (ICOHRTA). This award has enabled the BRTI to provide direct support for over 40 postgraduate research scientists, attached to different research projects and registered with universities in Zimbabwe, and also 15 Clinical Fellowships that provide support for postgraduates in clinical medicine. The award also enables BRTI to host training courses to develop research skills. There have, since 1995, been over 1500 participants including many from the southern Africa region as well as Zimbabwe.

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