Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe)
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.

On January 1st, 2019 the IZSVe has taken over the role of European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) for Avian Influenza (AI) and Newcastle Disease (ND). The AI/ND EURL aims to create a well performing network of laboratories throughout the European Union by ensuring availability of high quality methods, providing scientific and technical assistance and establishing and maintaining collection of reference reagents.

Mandate and activities of the EURL for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease

The main objectives of the AI/ND EURL is to collaborate with the National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) in order to create networks of excellence for AI and ND diagnosis, surveillance and control, and to set up strong research groups able to answer unresolved questions on AI and ND.

Tasks and duties of the AI/ND EURL are:

  • Providing expertise on diagnosis, epidemiology and control of AI and ND
  • Regularly assessing quality assurance of rapid and confirmatory methods in use in NRLs
  • Characterizing AI and ND viruses by the most relevant techniques
  • Collecting/collating data and information on diagnostic methods and results
  • Developing and maintaining an active network among the NRLs
  • Storing and supplying viruses and reference materials, including reference antisera
  • Actively evaluating and developing new tests, upgrading existing methods to make them fit for their intended purpose
  • Updating activity programmes in compliance with EU standard methods, making sure they fit for purpose against the changing viruses
  • Implementing training courses and setting up professional development strategies for the benefit of national experts through workshops, annual NRL conferences, guidance notes and ad hoc consultations
  • Offering support and advice to the EU Commission DG SANTE, EFSA, ECDC, to competent authorities in EU Member States (MS) and to other stakeholders
  • Providing epidemiological support to design and analyse results from surveillance programmes implemented in EU MS
  • Taking into account One Health implications in relation to AI and setting up a network with public health professionals
  • Acting as intersection among third countries, which are EU trading partners, making sure they are prepared to face disease threats in compliance with EU requested standards
  • Providing scientific and technical assistance to disease control policies in compliance with EU documentation
  • Making its expertise available to the Commission for emergency secondment and missions, if required

Activities, services and diagnostic capabilities

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

  • Management of outbreaks involving AI and ND viruses
  • Production and distribution of reference reagents
  • Identification and characterization of isolates obtained during epidemics and surveillance activities
  • Organization of ring trials at national and international level
  • Organization of laboratory trainings for the diagnosis of AI and ND
  • Phylogenetic analysis of AI and ND viruses
  • Development of research programs to improve knowledge and tools for AI and ND diagnose and control
  • Storage viruses and sera in the IZSVe veterinary biobank

All the laboratory techniques for diagnosis, complete characterization of isolates and research activities related to infections involving AI and ND 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. 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 are routinely used to study viral evolutionary and spatial dynamics. Some of these methods have already been accredited.

IZSVe-EURL AI/ND Platform »

IZSVe-EURL staff

Presentation and contacts of the team working at the AI/ND EURL.

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Research and projects

Research activities and international collaborations involving the AI/ND EURL.

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Publications

Publications authored or co-authored by members of the current AI/ND EURL.

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Proficiency testing

Information on annual proficiency testing (PT) organized by the AI/ND EURL.

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Diagnostic protocols

Laboratory methods for the detection, identification and typing of AI and ND viruses.

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National Reference Laboratories

List of European Union NRLs for AI and ND.

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Workshops

Presentations at the annual workshops of the EU-NRLs for AI and ND.

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Avian influenza in Europe: update

Epidemiological situation and provisions adopted by the competent authorities during avian influenza emergencies caused by HPAI and LPAI viruses in Europe.

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Avian influenza in Italy: update

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

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OIE Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease
& FAO Reference Centre for Animal Influenza and Newcastle Disease

In January 2001 the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) was appointed as OIE Reference Laboratory (RL) for Avian influenza and Newcastle Disease. In 2008 it was recognized as FAO Reference Centre (RC) for Animal Influenza and Newcastle Disease.

OIE & FAO activities >

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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Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
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