Laboratory network

WHO HIV drug resistance laboratory strategy

The WHO/HIVResNet laboratory strategy functions to support HIVDR surveillance efforts by providing accurate and timely genotyping results that meet WHO specifications. Its objectives are:

  • to ensure the proper collection, handling, shipment and storage of specimens;
  • to ensure the availability of quality assured HIV genotyping laboratory services at the national, regional and global level.

WHO HIV drug resistance laboratory network

National HIV drug resistance working groups coordinating WHO recommended surveys must use a WHO designated genotyping laboratory to provide quality assured testing services for the surveys.

To be designated as a laboratory for WHO surveys, a detailed assessment is performed, which includes a site inspection and annual external proficiency testing.


Laboratories seeking designation as WHO-designated laboratories for HIV drug resistance surveillance activities are encouraged to read and complete the relevant application form and questionnaire.

Useful links for potential applicants

Quality assurance of HIVDR sequence data

WHO in collaboration with several of the designated laboratories has developed a set of procedures for post-testing sequence quality assurance. These procedures are intended to improve and standardize the quality assurance steps being taken after lab-based testing is complete.

The WHO HIV drug resistance team means to be as flexible as possible while still maintaining a minimum level of quality and standardization requirements. If these procedures cannot be implemented for any reason, an explanation and demonstration that alternatives in place achieve the same goal must be provided, as well as assurance that the outputs of existing procedures are compatible with those described by WHO. WHO requests that these procedures be used for all genotyping being performed for national drug resistance surveillance and in particular for all sequence data generated for inclusion in national, regional, and global data aggregation and reporting.

Download WHO laboratory standard operating procedures for post-testing quality assurance of HIV drug resistance genotyping

Dried Blood Spot procedures

A set of protocols for collecting and analyzing dried blood spots (DBS) for drug resistance testing was developed by the DBS working group of HIVResNet. These protocols are based on standard procedures in use in laboratories that performed well during an assay validation exercise carried out in the WHO laboratory network.


HIVDR training package

An HIVDR training package has been developed in collaboration with the US-CDC drug resistance laboratory.