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Role of the EURL for Foot-and-Mouth Disease

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The role of the European Union Reference Laboratory for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EURL FMD) in general as a European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) and specifically as the EURL FMD is defined in two EC regulations.

Under article 32 of Regulation (EC) No. 882/2004 EURLs for animal diseases are responsible for:

  1. Coordinating the methods employed in the Member States for diagnosing diseases.
  2. Assisting actively in the diagnosis of disease outbreaks in Member States by receiving isolates for confirmatory diagnosis, characterisation and epizootic studies.Summaries of samples tested at The Pirbright InstituteMolecular Epidemiology Reports for samples tested at The Pirbright Insitute
  3. Facilitating the training of experts in laboratory diagnosis with a view to the harmonisation of diagnostic techniques.
  4. Collaborating, as regards methods of diagnosing animal diseases, with the competent laboratories in third countries where those diseases are prevalent.
  5. Conducting training courses for the benefit of staff from national reference laboratories and of experts from developing countries.Upcoming training courses (and other events)

Under Regulation (EC) No. 2003/85 the EURL FMD is responsible for:

  1. To ensure liaison between the Member State National Laboratories and to provide optimal methods for the diagnosis of FMD, and differential diagnosis of other vesicular viral diseases, where necessary, by:
    1. Regularly receiving field samples from EU or closely linked countries. With a view to monitoring the disease situation globally and regionally, to estimating and predicting the risk evolving from emerging strains and particular epidemiological situations, and determining the identity of the virus.Summaries of samples tested at The Pirbright Institute
    2. Typing and full antigenic and genomic characterisation of vesicular viruses from the samples referred to in point 1.a and communicating the results of such investigations without delay to the EC, Member State, and the National Laboratory concerned.Molecular Epidemiology Reports for samples tested at The Pirbright Insitute
    3. Building up and maintaining an up-to-date collection of vesicular virus strains and specific sera against vesicular virus strains.
    4. Advising the EC on all aspects related to FMD vaccine strain selection and use (in particular if antigens stored in the Community antigen and vaccine bank do not provide sufficient protection).
  2. To support the functions of National Laboratories, in particular by:
    1. Storing and supplying National Laboratories with reagents and materials for use in diagnosis of FMD.
    2. Retaining expertise on FMDV and other pertinent viruses to enable rapid differential diagnosis.
    3. Promoting harmonisation of diagnosis and organising and operating periodic comparative trials and external quality assurance exercises on FMD diagnosis (and the periodic transmission of the results of such trials to the EC, Member States, and National Laboratories).
    4. Carrying out research studies with the objective of developing improved methods of disease control.
  3. To provide information and carry out further training, in particular by:
    1. Gathering data and information on the methods of diagnosis and differential diagnosis used in National Laboratories and the distribution of such information to the EC and Member States.
    2. Making and implementing the necessary arrangements for the further training of experts in laboratory diagnosis.Upcoming training courses (and other events)
    3. Keeping abreast of developments in FMD epidemiology.
    4. Organising an annual meeting where representatives of the National Laboratories may review diagnostic techniques and the progress of coordination.Past annual workshops
  4. To perform experiments and field trials in consultation with the EC directed towards an improved control of FMD.
  5. To review at the annual meeting of National Reference Laboratories the contents of Annex XIII defining the tests and standards for FMD diagnosis within the EU.
  6. To cooperate with the National Reference Laboratories of candidate countries in accordance with this Annex.
  7. The EURL shall operate according to recognised conditions of strict disease security as indicated in "Minimum Standards for Laboratories working with foot-and-mouth disease virus in vitro and in vivo", European Commission for the control of foot-and-mouth disease - 26th Session, Rome, April 1985 (as amended).
  8. The EURL shall provide assistance to the EC as required on the disease security measures to be taken by the National Laboratories in matters of FMD diagnosis.

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