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Constitution of a European Network on the Detection of Pathogens in Oral Fluid

30 October 2015


Studies on the use of swine oral fluid (OF) in veterinary diagnostics emphasize the interest of this type of sample for animal health monitoring. While several publications have validated the interest of a given analytical test (serology or PCR) performed on OF, few studies have compared the performances of such tests between laboratories, write L. Mieli et al, Merial.

A network linking 17 diagnostic laboratories

After a first meeting, in 2012, where members of 17 European diagnostic laboratories expressed their interest in comparing the reliability of their routine test results, they agreed to create an informal working group.

This group, later named the ‘European network of diagnostic laboratories on swine oral fluid’, gathered diagnostic laboratories from 13 EU countries.

Namely: the DGZ Vlaanderen (Belgium), the State Veterinary Institute Jihlava and the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno (Czech Republic), the DTU (Denmark), Labocea (France), IVD (Germany), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), the National Food Chain Safety Office, Veterinary Diagnostic Directorate (Hungary), the IZSLER (Italy), the Pulawy Institute and the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (Poland), Vetdiagnos (Portugal), the CReSA (Spain), the GD Animal Health service and Thermofisher (the Netherlands) and the AHVLA and Newcastle University (UK).

Two ring trials in two years

The supervision of the network was awarded to Labocea and Merial, while Merial funded the activities of the network. It was agreed that these activities would first aim, through a common and homogeneous approach, to develop, validate and provide detailed information to pig health professionals in Europe on what can be expected from OF as a monitoring/diagnostic tool.

A first ring trial was organised in 2012/2013, to compare the capacity of each network member to perform common and separate analytical methods for the detection of PRRSV, PCV2 or SIV in shared samples of native (i.e. unspiked, field-collected) OF.

In 2013/2014, the network organised a second ring trial, focusing on the detection of PRRSV by the RT-PCR methods and using sera and OF collected in a Specific Pathogen Free farm, spiked with two different EU-PRRSV strains.

Results of both ring trials are detailed in a further communication at this meeting. They demonstrate that a coordinated and multidisciplinary work is a realistic aim for diagnostic laboratories from 13 different countries, and that swine professionals can rely on the laboratory results provided by members of the network.

Presented at the 2015 European Symposium of Porcine Health Management

October 2015

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