The Maisons-Alfort Laboratory for Animal Health and the Dozulé Laboratory for Equine Diseases have jointly been mandated as the European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) for equine diseases other than African horse sickness for the past nine years, actively helping to improve the diagnostic capabilities of national reference laboratories in the 27 EU Member States.
On 10 May 2017, the European Union announced that the EURL mandate for equine diseases has been renewed for a further five years. The Maisons-Alfort Laboratory for Animal Health will thus continue to work on the West Nile virus, equine glanders, the vesicular stomatitis virus and more generally equine viral encephalitis. The Dozulé Laboratory for Equine Diseases will pursue its reference activities on contagious equine metritis (CEM), dourine, equine viral arteritis (EVA), diseases caused by equine herpes virus 1 and 4, and equine infectious anaemia (EIA).
The two laboratories are also jointly France’s National Reference Laboratory for these equine diseases, and these different mandates place ANSES at the forefront of research into equine diseases. The renewal of its EURL mandate is, for ANSES, recognition of its commitment and the quality of its research to promote animal health.
What is meant by ‘reference’ activity?
For certain major regulated or emerging pathogens (viruses, bacteria or parasites) and chemical contaminants, health authorities need an effective surveillance and analysis system supported by a network of reliable laboratories to undertake official analyses.
For each regulated pathogen or contaminant requiring surveillance, the health authorities accredit various laboratories for performing analyses, and appoint one as a national or European ‘reference’ laboratory (respectively NRL for National Reference Laboratory, or EURL for European Union Reference Laboratory). The reference laboratory ensures the reliability of the analyses carried out by all the accredited laboratories in the network that it heads (departmental laboratories in the case of an NRL, or the NRL of different EU Member States in the case of the EURL). It develops analysis methods which it transfers to the accredited laboratories and ensures that the quality of the results is homogenous over the whole territory. With its 11 laboratories spread throughout France, ANSES has over 90 national, European or international reference mandates (OIE, FAO or WHO) (PDF).