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Office of Research

Center for Onchocerciasis Diagnostics



The WHO Collaborating Center for Onchocerciasis Diagnostics was established in 2018. The Centre is the culmination of over 25 years of collaboration between the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Unnasch at USF and various laboratories supported by international agencies and programs including the WHO, the Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa, the Onchocerciasis Elimination Programme for the Americas, the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, the Carter Center Onchocerciasis Elimination Program and the WHO Expanded Special Programme for the Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases. As well as various collaborations involving the Mectizan Donation Programme (MDP), The Task Force for Global Health, The End Fund and other laboratory support agencies across the globe, all in the effort to eliminate onchocerciasis.

The overall goals of the WHO Collaborating Centre are:

  • To provide advice in obtaining essential assay specific reagents to endemic laboratories involved in onchocerciasis elimination.
  • To provide quality control assurance activities to said laboratories.
  • To provide training as needed in the techniques needed to verify onchocerciasis elimination.
  • To provide technical assistance to said laboratories as needed.
  • The Centre will provide critical reagents (Ov16 antigen, O-150 PCR freeze dried reaction mixes) at cost to laboratories involved in onchocerciasis elimination.

We have provided Ov16 antigen and freeze-dried reaction mixtures to national and international laboratories currently involved in onchocerciasis surveillance in Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Togo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and Brazil. We have also supplied these reagents to the ESPEN laboratory located in Ouagadougou.

In effort to provide tools for Onchocerciasis testing, we have provided documents containing the necessary SOP’s in the Testing Resources tab. Please refer to the contact information if you have any questions or need to reach us for further support.

  • Hassan Hassan, MSc Hassan Hassan, MSc
    Hassan Hassan, MSc
    Research Associate
    USF Center Director
  • External Quality Assurance - Laboratory Handbook and SOPs regarding Laboratory Methods for Onchocerciasis Elimination & External Quality Assurance Manual

    The External Quality Assurance Manual (USF-001)

    The Laboratory Handbook provides all the necessary information for the following protocols;

    • Ov16 ELISA Protocol (OEPA Version) – Detection of antibodies against O. volvulus (USF-002)
    • DNA extraction from Simulium black flies to detect Onchocerca volvulus (USF-003)
    • Endpoint O-150 PCR Amplification of Onchocerca volvulus DNA (USF-004)
    • ELISA based detection of O-150 PCR products (USF-005)
    • E. coli ELISA Protocol – Detection of Antibodies for Sample Acceptance (USF-006)
  • The USF Onchocerciasis Supply and Reagent Excel Calculator is utilized to determine the quantity required to create a custom PCR or ELISA kit for detection of Onchocerca volvulus in samples. This Calculator will provide quantity required and an estimate for cost, however please contact USF Onchocerciasis procurement personnel for further assistance regarding the most current cost updates should you need supplies.

    ONCHO Lab Reagent Calculators

  • USF and its Collaborators provide resources for Onchocerciasis Elimination efforts, which may include laboratory supply procurement support. When supply and reagent support is available, a resource application process must be submitted by the requesting Onchocerciasis Reference Laboratory for review and approval of support needs. 


Contact Information

Please use the following email to contact us regarding Onchocerciasis Diagnostics and Supply Procurement
Hassan Hassan, MSc and Kristi Miley PhD

College of Public Health 
University of South Florida
3720 Spectrum Blvd., Suite 404
Tampa, FL 33612

Contact Personnel

Kristi Miley, MSPH, PhD
Research Associate, Global Health Infectious Disease Research Center
Manager, IDRB BSL3/ABSL-3 Facility

Hassan Hassan, MSc 
Research Associate, Global Health Infectious Disease Research Center 
Manager, IDRB 425