Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Italian health authority and research organization for animal health and food safety
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European Union reference laboratory (EURL) for avian influenza and Newcastle disease

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

The Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) was designated as National reference centre for Avian Influenza (AI) and Newcastle disease (ND) by the Italian Ministry of Health in 1999. In January 2001 the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) was appointed as OIE Reference laboratory (RL) for avian influenza by OIE. In 2008 it was recognized as FAO Reference centre (RC) for animal influenza and Newcastle disease.

Starting from the 1st January 2019 it has been acting as European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) for avian influenza and Newcastle disease. The European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) aims to ensure availability and use of high quality methods, provide scientific and technical assistance, establish and maintain collections of reference reagents to create a well performing network of laboratories throughout the European Union.

Mandate and activities of the European Union reference laboratory (EURL)

The main objectives of the European Union reference laboratory for avian influenza and Newcastle disease (EURL AI/ND) will be to collaborate with any National reference laboratory (NRL) in order to create networks of excellence for AI and ND diagnosis, surveillance and control, and to promote the creation of strong research groups able to answer unresolved questions on AI and ND.

In particular functions and duties of the EURL AI/ND will be:

  • Provision of expertise on the diagnosis, epidemiology and control of AI and ND.
  • Regular quality assurance assessments of rapid and confirmatory methods in use in National Reference Laboratories (NRLs).
  • Characterisation of AIV and NDV by the most relevant techniques.
  • Collection and collation of data and information on diagnostic methods and results.
  • Development and maintenance of an active network among the NRLs.
  • Storage and supply of viruses and reference materials, including reference antisera.
  • Active evaluation and development of new tests, upgrading of existing methods to make them fit for their intended purpose.
  • To update activity programmes in compliance with EU standard methods, making sure they are fit for purpose against the changing virus.
  • To conduct training courses and set out professional development strategies for the benefit of national experts through workshops, annual NRL conferences, guidance notes and ad hoc consultations.
  • To offer support and advice to the EU Commission DG SANTE, EFSA, ECDC, to competent authorities in EU Member States (MS) and to other stakeholders.
  • To make the most common laboratory methods available and publishing scientific data of relevance to the EU.
  • To provide epidemiological support to design and analyse results from surveillance programmes implemented in EU MS.
  • To take into account One Health implications in relation to AI and to set up a network with public health professionals.
  • To act as an intersection among third countries which are EU trading partners, making sure they are prepared to face a disease threat in compliance with EU requested standards.
  • To provide scientific and technical assistance to apply disease control policies and to provide formal EU documentation.
  • To make expert staff available to the Commission for emergency secondment and missions, if required.

Activities, services and diagnostic capabilities

The IZSVe has managed several outbreaks in Italy caused by low pathogenic avian influenza(LPAI) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). In addition, it has supported several Middle Eastern, Central Asian and African countries in facing and combating HPAI and LPAI infections.

  • Management of outbreaks caused by AI and ND viruses
  • Production and distribution of reference reagents
  • Identification and characterization of isolates obtained during epidemics and surveillance
  • Organization of ring trials at a national and international level
  • Organization of laboratory training for the diagnosis of avian influenza and Newcastle disease
  • Phylogenetic analysis of AI and ND viruses
  • Development of research programs for improving the knowledge and tools for diagnosing and controlling AI and ND
  • Store viruses and sera in the IZSVe veterinary biobank

All laboratory techniques for the diagnosis, the complete characterization of isolates and the research activities related to infections caused by avian influenza and Newcastle disease viruses are performed.

Serological (HI, AGID, ELISA, SN and MN) and classic virology (isolation in embryonated eggs and primary and continuous cell cultures) tests are commonly used for diagnosis and research, some of them (HI, AGID and virus isolation) have been accredited for many years.

In addition, traditional biomolecular techniques (RT-PCR, real time RT-PCR and genomic sequencing) as well as new advanced methods (i.e. Next Generation Sequencing) and bioinformatics tools to study viral evolutionary and spatial dynamics are presently being used and some of those have been accredited.

IZSVe-EURL AI/ND Platform »

IZSVe-EURL Staff

Presentation and contacts of the team working at the European Union Reference Laboratories (EURL) for avian influenza and Newcastle Disease.

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Research & projects

Research activities and international collaborations involving the European Union reference laboratory (EURL) for avian influenza and Newcastle disease.

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Publications

Publications authored or co-authored by members of the current European Union reference laboratory (EURL) for avian influenza and Newcastle disease.

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Proficiency testing

Information on interlaboratory proficiency testing organized by the European Union reference laboratory (EURL) for avian influenza and Newcastle disease.

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Diagnostic protocols

Laboratory methods for the detection, identification and typing of avian influenza and Newcastle Disease.

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National reference laboratories

List of EU National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease in Europe.

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Avian influenza in Europe: updates

Epidemiological situation and provisions adopted by the competent authorities during avian influenza emergencies in Europe (HPAI).

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Avian influenza in Italy: updates

Epidemiological situation and provisions adopted by the competent authorities during avian influenza emergencies in Italy (HPAI and LPAI).

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OIE & FAO activities

IZSVe activities as OIE reference laboratory for avian influenza and the FAO reference centre for animal influenza and Newcastle disease.

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Latest news

The new European Union reference laboratory for avian influenza and Newcastle disease starts its activities

Starting from 1 January 2019 the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) is going to officially take on the position as European…

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Integration of genetic and epidemiological data during the 2016-2017 avian influenza epidemic in Italy

Integration of genetic and epidemiological data during the 2016-2017 avian influenza epidemic in Italy

As a whole, the epidemic proved being particularly complex to tackle, requiring massive economical efforts: in Italy alone, the total expenses for…

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OIE Twinning Project between the IZSVe and the National Veterinary Research Institute of Nigeria, the first year of activities

OIE Twinning Project between the IZSVe and the National Veterinary Research Institute of Nigeria, the first year of activities

The first year of activities stemming from the OIE Twinning Project “Improving NVRI laboratory capacity for a better control of the Avian Influenza…

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You can read all the news on this topics on this page of the News section of the website: News > News Topics > Avian Influenza & Newcastle Disease

Go to Avian Influenza & Newcastle Disease news »
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