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Veterinary laboratory testing protocols for priority zoonotic diseases in Africa











FAO. 2023. Veterinary laboratory testing protocols for priority zoonotic diseases in AfricaFAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines No. 34. Rome. 




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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Addressing African swine fever
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    2020
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    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) including other partners have been working in countries affected or at risk of incursion by African swine fever (ASF). This document was generated as guidance in response to the emergence of ASF in China, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. FAO has provided support for laboratory diagnosis of ASF following OIE recommendations, specifically using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in detecting ASF virus. PCR is a highly sensitive and specific method for the molecular detecting ASF virus for a wide range of purposes, including confirmation of clinical cases and confirmation of freedom from infection before movement. The Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP, formerly the Australian Animal Health Laboratories) has developed a diagnostic algorithm based on OIE recommendations and in consultation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional animal health laboratory network. This document describes a validated real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) protocol (the ‘King assay’), which targets the B646L gene, encoding the ASF virus structural protein p72. This assay has been produced in kit form by the ACDP and provided to various veterinary diagnostic laboratories in Southeast Asia by the FAO and OIE. This document also provides links to other reference documents.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Guidelines for the establishment and management of seed testing laboratories
    Joint ISTA and FAO Handbook
    2023
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    This Joint ISTA and FAO Handbook provides comprehensive guidelines for the setting up and managing of seed testing laboratories, including those that cater to small- and medium-scale seed enterprises and farmers’ cooperatives, which operate in low input production systems. The adherence to the guidelines by seed testing laboratories results in the use of uniform procedures across the board thereby facilitating inter-laboratory transferability of data. This harmonization enhances confidence in seed quality assurance mechanisms. The publication is an update of a previous one that was also jointly published by both organizations in 1969 and revised in 1979 and 1983. Its utility is enhanced by a set of new up-to-date information that builds upon existing data. The Handbook provides guidance on the range of seed testing equipment, procedures, and management systems that have become available in the several decades since the previous editions. Seed testing is a critical component of the seed value chain and is essential for the production of quality seeds, i.e. seeds that are alive, can germinate and produce vigorous seedlings; are healthy and come from lots that meet set thresholds for genetic and analytical purity. The Handbook covers all aspects of seed testing, from laboratory design and equipment selection to sample preparation, testing methods, and data analysis. Importantly, the publication also addresses the challenges of testing seeds in low input systems and provides guidance on how to adapt procedures to these settings. Therefore, it serves as a reference material and training resource for everyone involved in seed quality assurance procedures, in particular the personnel of seed testing laboratories and regulatory agencies; seed producers and farmers. The updated publication represents a significant improvement over previous guidelines, as it incorporates advances in technology and provides guidance on a broader range of testing procedures. The guidelines are designed to be adaptable to different contexts and seed types and include recommendations for quality management systems, proficiency testing, and inter-laboratory comparisons, which are essential for ensuring the accuracy and reliability of seed testing results.
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    Book (series)
    DNA-based molecular diagnostic techniques: research needs for standardization and validation of the detection of aquatic animal pathogens and diseases.
    Report and proceedings of the Expert Workshop on DNA-based Molecular Diagnostic Techniques: Research Needs for Standardization and Validation of the Detection of Aquatic Animal Pathogens and Diseases. Bangkok, Thailand, 7-9 February 1999.
    2000
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    In efforts to limit trans-boundary movement of pathogens and reduce the economic and socioeconomic impact of disease in aquaculture, there is considerable scope for more effective use of DNA-based methods of pathogen detection. These technologies offer rapid results with potentially high sensitivity and specificity, at relatively low cost. Recognition of these advantages has led to rapid adoption of available DNA-based tests, particularly in shrimp culture for which histological procedures lack specificity and culture-based methods have not been possible. However, few if any of the available tests have been assessed appropriately against other diagnostic methods or standardized and validated for specified applications. In fish and shrimp, type or strain specificity of most tests for pathogens in the Asian region is poorly understood and, in molluscs, there is little information on the significant pathogens and few tests of any kind have been developed. Furthermore, tests presently avai lable are frequently conducted by technicians who may not be sufficiently aware of the need for stringent test protocols or the meaning and limitations of the data generated. Implementation of standardized practices that produce reliable, useful and comparable data will require a significant investment in research, training and infrastructure development. Effective implementation will also be assisted by enhanced communication between aquatic animal health practitioners in the region and scienti sts with expertise in molecular diagnostic technologies. This review recommends development by FAO/NACA of 2 programs of managed cooperative research to assist more effective use of DNA-based detection tests. Program A should focus on improving the knowledge base by identification of new and emerging pathogens, relating pathogens in the region to those described elsewhere, and defining the extent of genetic variation between related pathogens in the region. Program B should draw on information currently available or obtained from Program A to develop suitably specific DNA-based diagnostic methods and to evaluate and validate the methods for disease diagnosis and pathogen screening programs. To increase the availability of scientists and technicians with skills in pathology and molecular diagnostic technologies, the review also recommends development of FAO/NACA-sponsored training programs for staff from key laboratories in the region. Training priorities should be in: i) the use of standard histopathological methods for health screening of fish and molluscs; and ii) the use of standard DNA-based methods for pathogen detection including sample collection, application of test protocols and the analysis and interpretation of test results. Because of the urgency of disease problems and the availability of suitable tests, training in DNA-based methods should focus initially on detection of shrimp pathogens. The review also recommends the development of a laboratory accredita tion program in order to achieve standardization of sampling methods and test procedures. The establishment of reference laboratories will assist accreditation for each of the major pathogens. Laboratory accreditation and training programs should complement the activities of OIE in obtaining internationally agreed test standards for molecular diagnostic technologies.

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