Created in 2015, by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Scientist, Mary Hoelscher Gonzalez, this image depicts a number of Georgia Public Health Laboratory scientists, as they were unpacking reagents for flu surveillance that had been provided to them by the CDC’s Influenza Reagent Resource (IRR) Program. The scene took place at the Georgia Public Health Laboratory in Decatur, Georgia. The IRR Program was established in 2008, by the Influenza Division under a contract with the non-profit organization American Type Cell Culture (ATCC), to provide influenza reagents, kits and panels to public health laboratories, researchers, vaccine manufacturers and diagnostic test developers, in order to improve influenza diagnostics and vaccines, and promote basic research. This was one of the entries in the 2015 CDC Connects, Public Health in Action Photo Contest.
Laboratories around the world can order from a catalog of over 700 influenza reagents online via the IRR’s external webstore. In the seven years since the program’s inception, the IRR has grown to an annual distribution of 13,000+ reagents, shipped to approximately 350 laboratories, in 114 countries. The IRR program played a major role in the domestic and international responses to the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic, and continues to function as a “warm base”, with mechanisms in place to rapidly ramp up manufacturing and distribution activities to surge levels, in the event of a major public health emergency.