Man in Lab Using Virtual Reality for Training

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AR and VR Training Improves On-Site Response


Rapid On-Site Response Training

A disease outbreak caused by a high-consequence pathogen in a low-income country generally requires a rapid international incident response that includes national public health agencies, the World Health Organization, and private organizations such as MSF (Doctors without Borders). In these situations, time is of the essence and may be a matter of life and death. 

To support their preparedness, our team has worked with host-nation governments, national health care personnel, members of the international donor community, and contractor partners to enhance each nation’s capacity to manage future disease outbreaks. Our mission was broad, and included building, supplying and staffing of diagnostics laboratories, biosurveillance-related technical training, biosafety and security training, test and evaluation support, supply and logistics, maintenance and operations support. We also provided SME guidance during laboratory facility design, construction, engineering, and stand-up efforts.

In the past, methods used to define the site-specific training needs and the style in which the training is conducted are not always sustainable solutions for the host countries. Also, traditional methods are not always customized to address the specific circumstances of individual host country laboratories and resource-limited countries are unable to sustain some detection and diagnostic technologies. This can result in significant knowledge gaps and a lack of successful engagement with host countries, limiting opportunities for successful training.

Further, research on highly infectious live viruses and bacteria, such as Ebola Virus, Tuberculosis, and Anthrax, is necessary to develop drug treatments, vaccines, and easy-to-use tests to determine infections. This important work is only performed in high (Biosafety Level 3, BSL-3) and maximum (BSL-4) containment laboratories. This can make training to prepare for work in those environments a challenge. 

To address this, MRIGlobal introduced a blended learning technique training approach to maximize learning and to develop knowledge and wisdom. Blended learning includes traditional learning approaches (video, lectures, PowerPoint) enhanced by simulations, gamification and problem sets, social media (connecting people during learning), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR).

These platforms are adaptable to various types of training including biosafety, biosecurity, sample management, research projects, standard operating procedure development, and proficiency testing. This enables these teams to ensure effective preparation and response to the next disease outbreak, as the platforms also help aid in engagement and retention of critical skills that can be readily transferred to a response situation. For instance, VR allowed students to train in a simulator laboratory to visualize the work in a BSL-3 or BSL-4 lab, learning about personal protective equipment and how to work safely in BSL-4 suits and the laboratory environment prior to the suits-on training. This was combined with on-site classes and web-based resources to provide comprehensive training. 

Because disease outbreaks often occur in locations where disease surveillance and diagnostic capability is not adequate, infections keep recurring and international response is continually required especially when human cases are reported. Over time, use of an engaging and ongoing training platform can support a knowledge transfer process that is adopted, maintained, and sustained by the host nation to train future generations. This will allow for not only an efficient deployment, but also sustained capacity-building.

Getting started with MRIGlobal

Contact MRIGlobal and get started with development of your own AR and VR environments. Whether you are testing a product that is still in development or training your team on its use before deployment, we have everything you need to get you and your team ready.

 As a not-for-profit contract research organization, we have proven ourselves as an objective partner driven to make our clients’ products more successful. We specialize in defense, human health, pharmaceutical sciences, in-vitro diagnostics, energy and environment, agriculture, and global health.

 To learn more about the work we’ve done or how we can help you, contact us today. If you are part of an agency, business, or academic institution seeking assistance with a project, use our Project Quote Tool to get started.


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