Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Italian health authority and research organization for animal health and food safety
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National reference centre / OIE reference laboratory / FAO reference centre for avian influenza and Newcastle disease

National reference laboratory / OIE reference laboratory / FAO reference centre for avian influenza and Newcastle disease

IZSVe was designated as National reference centre for Avian Influenza (AI) and Newcastle disease (ND) by the Ministry of Health of Italy in 1999. In January 2001 it was appointed as Reference Laboratory (RL) by OIE and in 2008 it was recognized by United Nations FAO as Reference Centre (RC) for animal influenza and Newcastle disease.

The Centre has managed several outbreaks in Italy caused by low pathogenic avian influenza(LPAI) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) of the H7 and H5 subtypes. In addition, it has supported several Middle Eastern, Central Asian and African countries in facing and combating the H5N1 HPAI and H9N2 LPAI infections.

The OIE/FAO Reference Laboratory functions as Centre of Expertise and standardization of diagnostic techniques. The Reference experts are leading and active researchers helping the Centre  to provide scientific and technical assistance and expert advice on topics linked to diagnosis, surveillance and control of the disease. They also provide scientific and technical training for veterinaries, technicians and students, and coordinate scientific activities in collaboration with other laboratories or organizations to strengthen their capacity to diagnose AI and ND infections.

The OIE RL and FAO RC are hosted in the Research and Innovation Department and in the Virology Laboratory in IZSVe. At August 2014 56 persons (23% male, 77% female) are working in these two departments with 13 distinct type of University Degrees represented (from veterinary degree to biology, biotechnology, chemistry degrees etc.). The structure employs 14 PhD’s, 5 Masters, 8 Post-University Degree Specialists. The mean age of the employees is 38.5 year. Six distinct languages are spoken as mother-tongue: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi.

Activities and servicesProjects and collaborationsPublicationsContacts

Activities and services

The main research areas are:

  • development of vaccination strategy, evaluation of vaccine efficacy and identification of vaccine candidates against epidemic strains;
  • development and validation of innovative diagnostic assay for AI and ND;
  • evaluation of the evolutionary dynamics of AI and ND viruses during epidemics and antigenic characterization of AI viruses;
  • pathogenesis studies of influenza and ND viruses in birds and mammals.

Specific activities and services performed at the IZSVe RL & RC
Mandate and general activities of the OIE RL and FAO RC
Diagnostic capabilities

Projects and collaborations

The Centre is currently involved in the following research projects:

  • FP7-PREDEMICS – Prediction and Prevention of Emerging Zoonotic Viruses with Pandemic Potential using Multidisciplinary Approaches
  • FP7-FLUPIG – Pathogenesis and transmission of influenza in pigs
  • EMIDA Era-Net EpiSeq- “Molecular epidemiology of epizootic diseases using next generation sequencing technology”
  • ANIHWA Era-Net NADIV – Co-circulation of avian influenza and velogenic Newcastle disease viruses – impact on pathogenesis, immune response and disease prevention.
  • RF IZS VE 2318512-2010 – Role of influenza virus infection in the etiopathogenesis of diabetes.
  • RC IZSVE 21/12 – Genetic and antigenic characteristics of recent APMV-1 isolates collected in wild and domestic pigeons and vaccine efficacy of ND vaccines in pigeons

Additionally, it collaborates with international institutions (e.g. UN-FAO, IAEA, EU, EFSA, WHO) for the selection of vaccine candidates, the definition of virus genotype nomenclature and for organizing training activities.

The list of the ongoing international collaborations is here below reported:

OIE Twinning Project Italy-Iran
IZSVe - Cairo University (Egypt)
IZSVe - Central Laboratory for Evaluation of Veterinary Biologics (CLEVB - Egypt)
IZSVe – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC - Atlanta, USA)
IZSVe – CODA-CERVA National Reference Laboratory, Brussels (Belgium)
IZSVe –University of Georgia (USA)
IZSVe – University of Pennsylvania (USA)
IZSVe - Kimron Veterinary Services (Israel)
IZSVe – Mississippi University (USA)
IZSVe – Glasgow University (UK)


The most relevant and recent ten references are here below reported:

  • Bonfante F, Fusaro A, Zanardello C, Patrono LV, De Nardi R, Maniero S, Terregino C (2014). Lethal nephrotropism of an H10N1 avian influenza virus stands out as an atypical pathotype. Vet Microbiol. 2014 Aug 19. pii: S0378-1135(14)00361-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.07.023. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Monne, I., Fusaro, A., Nelson, M. I., Bonfanti, L., Mulatti, P., Hughes, J., Murcia, P. R., Schivo, A., Valastro, V., Moreno, A., Holmes, E. C., Cattoli, G. (2014). Emergence of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus from a low pathogenic progenitor. Journal of Virology, 88(8), 4375-4388. doi:10.1128/JVI.03181-13888
  • Kasloff, S. B., Pizzuto, M. S., Silic-Benussi, M., Pavone, S., Ciminale, V., Capua, I. (2014). Oncolytic activity of avian influenza virus in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cell lines. Journal of Virology, doi:JVI.00929-14 [pii].
  • Bonfanti L, Monne I, Tamba M, Santucci U, Massi P, Patregnani T, Loli Piccolomini L, Natalini S, Ferri G, Cattoli G, Marangon S. Highly pathogenic H7N7 avian influenza in Italy. Vet Rec. 2014 Apr 12;174(15):382. doi: 10.1136/vr.102202.
  • Terregino, C., Aldous, E. W., Heidari, A., Fuller, C. M., De Nardi, R., Manvell, R. J., Beato, M. S., Shell, W. M., Monne, I., Brown, I. H., Alexander, D. J., and Capua, I. Antigenic and genetic analyses of isolate APMV/wigeon/Italy/3920-1/2005 indicate that it represents a new avian paramyxovirus (APMV-12). Arch. Virol. 158:2233-2243. 2013.
  • Aiello, R., Beato, M. S., Mancin, M., Rigoni, M., Romero Tejeda, A., Maniero, S., Capua, I., Terregino, C. (2013). Differences in the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus in feather samples from 4-week-old and 24-week-old infected pekin ducks (anas platyrhynchos var. domestica). Veterinary Microbiology, 165(3-4), 443-447. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.03.019; 10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.03.019165(3-4)Elsevier B.V
  • Capua, I., Mercalli, A., Pizzuto, M. S., Romero-Tejeda, A., Kasloff, S., De Battisti, C., Bonfante, F., Patrono, L. V., Vicenzi, E., Zappulli, V., Lampasona, V., Stefani, A., Doglioni, C., Terregino, C., Cattoli, G., Piemonti, L. (2013). Influenza A viruses grow in human pancreatic cells and cause pancreatitis and diabetes in an animal model. Journal of Virology, 87(1), 597-610. doi:10.1128/JVI.00714-12; 10.1128/JVI.00714-12871
  • Monne, I., Yamage, M., Dauphin, G., Claes, F., Ahmed, G., Giasuddin, M., Salviato, A., Ormelli, S., Bonfante, F., Schivo, A., Cattoli, G. (2013). Reassortant avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses with H9N2-PB1 gene in poultry, Bangladesh. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 19(10), 1630-1634. doi:10.3201/eid1910.130534; 10.3201/eid1910.1305341910
  • Meseko C, Olaleye D, Capua I, Cattoli G. (2013). Swine Influenza in Sub-Saharan Africa – Current Knowledge and Emerging Insights. Zoonoses Public Health. 2013 Jul 5.doi: 10.1111/zph.12068.
  • Capua I, Cattoli G. Prevention and control of highly pathogenic avian influenza with particular reference to H5N1. Virus Res. 2013 Apr 21. doi:pii:S0168-1702(13)00116-0. 10.1016/j.virusres.2013.04.002.


The following web sites report all the activities carried out by the OIE/FAO reference laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease. As well, information on the current regional, national and communitarian legislation which regulates all aspects related to the disease are reported; training courses, national and/or international research projects having the Reference center as coordinator or partner are mentioned, as well.


Director of National reference laboratory
Calogero Terregino
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Director of OIE reference laboratory
FAO reference centre for animal influenza and Newcastle disease
Isabella Monne
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Director of FAO reference centre for animal influenza and Newcastle disease
Giovanni Cattoli (on leave of absence)

Administrative office
Tel: +39 049 8084371
Fax: +39 049 8084360

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Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
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