Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI)

BRTI Team Photo

The Biomedical Research & Training Institute (BRTI) is an independent institution, not linked to any governmental or non-governmental agency, and as such is able to set its own priorities and policies within the framework of promoting better health through its research and training programmes.

They are on the List Of Approved COVID-19 Testing Laboratories In Zimbabwe.


The Biomedical Research & Training Institute (BRTI) was founded in 1995 and is registered in Zimbabwe as a non-profit making company. The BRTI was founded, uniquely in Africa, as a totally independent institution with no direct funding from any governmental or non-governmental agency. This enables the BRTI to have sole responsibility for setting policies and agendas that are compatible with its mission – "to promote the health and well-being of the peoples of southern Africa".

The BRTI collaborates with the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences, Stanford University, California, USA and is affiliated to Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe through a Memorandum of Understanding. BRTI works closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care on a number of research, training and service delivery programmes. The BRTI promotes and supports relevant and ethical research in all aspects of health, and provides training directed towards developing capacity of researchers to design, conduct and report on health research.[1]

Role of the BRTI

The main role of the BRTI is to provide the infrastructural support that researchers in all aspects of health need to become effective in influencing policy. Increasingly, developing countries have recognized the need to utilize their own resources towards their own research goals. It was in this spirit that the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI) was established in Zimbabwe in 1995. From its inception, the BRTI was to be a sustainable project that was administered directly by scientists and managers working principally within southern Africa.

  • Assist researchers in identifying sources of co-operation, collaboration and funding at national, regional and international levels
  • Promote local consultants and researchers from amongst the scientific community to encourage them to stay in the region and reduce the “brain drain” to developed nations
  • Support researchers to conduct effective and ethical research projects in the broad field of human and veterinary health
  • Design and deliver training courses, conferences and seminars to strengthen the capacity of laboratory scientists, researchers and research managers in the region
  • Promote networks for research collaboration and linkage with policy-makers in the region
  • Encourage government, industry and NGOs to facilitate the utilization of local research findings to promote local investment in new products in medicine and new approaches to health delivery.[2]


The mission of the BRTI is to promote the health and quality of life of the peoples of Africa through research and training in the field of biomedicine. The institute emphasises the need to establish and maintain the highest levels of quality, professionalism, ethical standards and efficiency in its activities, and publishes these webpages in a spirit of openness and transparency.


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 (ZINQAP) and several External Quality Assurance schemes which include, College of American Pathologist (CAP), Medical Research Council (MRC) of South Africa, National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) of South Africa and INSTAND in Germany.

The laboratory provides relevant laboratory investigations of all projects encompassed in the four major BRTI units, namely Health Systems Research, Biomedical Research, Epidemiology and Veterinary Research. The laboratory complements national diagnostic services in providing laboratory tests that are not otherwise routine but have become available within the framework of its activities, and these include HIV testing, CD4 counts, Viral loads, processing for medical bacteriology i.e. sexually transmitted infections (STIs), blood cultures, parasitology, gastro and respiratory infections.

Laboratory Departments

  • 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.
  • TB Diagnostics - This laboratory was formally 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 the NMRL personnel on TB diagnostic technics and eventually set up the country’s second National TB laboratory.
  • Microbiology - This laboratory unit processes clinical samples that require micro bacterial cultures, carries out species identification, drug sensitivity testing of culture isolates and also does parasitology and mycology. National surveys on aetiology of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) have been evaluated.
  • Serelogy - This unit 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
  • Bio-Banking - BRTI owns stored sera, Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), packed red cells, Buffy coats, Drug resistant TB isolates etc, which is a foot into the preparation for Bio-banking for genetic work. This however, requires the continued service and insurance of upgrading of the equipment such as -20 to -80oC freezers and maintenance of the cold space.[3]

Picture Gallery


  • Address: 10 Seagrave, Avondale, Harare
  • Phone: +263242336691
  • Business Hours: Mon-Fri: 8.00am – 4.30pm
  • Website:


  1. [1], ReBUILD Consortium, Accessed: 19 January, 2021
  2. [2], Devex News, Accessed: 19 January, 2021
  3. [3], Biomedical Research & Training Institute, Accessed: 19 January, 2021