As announced at the General Assembly of the World Organisation of Animal Health (WOAH) taking place in Paris

The National Reference Centre (NRC) for Rabies at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) has been designated as a WOAH Reference Laboratory for Rabies. The announcement was made during the 91st General Assembly of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), which is currently being held in Paris. The Scientific Commission positively evaluated the scientific dossier on rabies submitted by the NRC, and appointed Dr. Paola De Benedictis, Director of the Reference Centre, as official ‘WOAH expert’ for rabies.

This is a highly prestigious international acknowledgement of the technical and scientific activities conducted for many years by Dr. De Benedictis in support of endemic countries,” affirmed Antonia Ricci, the IZSVe General Director.

The IZSVe commitment to fighting this disease, affecting around 60,000 people per year globally, centers around standardising and validating innovative biomolecular diagnostic methods, capacity building, and training programmes at laboratories based in endemic countries.

The NRC for Rabies, which operates on behalf of the Ministry of Health, is also a FAO Reference Centre and is currently the world’s only laboratory to have received this dual award from both international organisations.

This important award will contribute to consolidating synergies between international health agencies and national stakeholders, with a view to eliminating rabies in humans by 2030,” declared Paola De Benedictis. “Furthermore, our strategic position in the Mediterranean undoubtedly fosters active cooperation with the countries affected by rabies”.

In 2023, the NRC for Rabies was already part of the RABLAB network, championed by WOAH, which brings together international laboratories whose objective is to outline control and prevention strategies at a global level.

This nomination has brought the total number of WOAH Laboratories based at the IZSVe to five: Encephalopathy and Retinopathy of Marine Fish, Avian Influenza & Newcastle Disease, Avian Mycoplasmosis, Salmonellosis, and now Rabies.