More than 200 international experts of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) scientific network of expertise, representing the 296 OIE reference centers from all around the world, reaffirmed their commitment to constantly disseminate new relevant scientific information to the OIE, and support the scientific accuracy and robustness of OIE publications through contributions or peer reviews. The commitment was made during an OIE global conference, held October 14-16 in Seoul, Korea.
“The need for scientific expertise and advice is constantly increasing and so is the reliance to our network of excellence unique in the world”, highlights Dr. Bernard Vallat, OIE director general.
In addition to further fostering the networking of the OIE reference centers, the conference also focused on new tools for the advancement and exchange of knowledge necessary strengthen diagnostic capacities worldwide and continuously improve the response to current and future sanitary threats. In this context, the conference launched a new strategy on a global pathogen genotype platform as well as a new mechanism for the timely diffusion of new disease detection and control methods to the OIE’s 180 member countries.
The OIE global network of expertise, which has grown considerably stronger over the years, supports - on a voluntary and free of charge basis - the development and the excellence of animal health sciences, animal welfare standards and veterinary public health services. It ensures the scientific foundation of the standards and guidelines adopted by OIE member countries and recognized as intergovernmental references for disease control methods and animal welfare throughout the world.
To date, this OIE global network includes 247 reference laboratories, covering 117 diseases in 38 countries and 49 collaborating centers, covering 46 topics in 26 countries. These institutes are selected by the relevant elected specialist commissions of the OIE according to their scientific excellence and then proposed for adoption by the World Assembly of OIE Delegates.
“Strengthening national veterinary laboratory capacities, and thereby reinforcing the veterinary scientific community is key to face the challenges of the future,” said Vallat. “That’s why since 2006, the OIE has developed a laboratory twinning program between existing OIE reference laboratories or collaborating centers and candidate laboratories. This program allows more member countries to provide reference centers to the OIE network and to develop more appropriate laboratory diagnostic methods worldwide”.
The OIE also supports national veterinary laboratories through the performance of veterinary services (PVS) pathway component dedicated to national laboratories and through a capacity building global program for OIE national focal points for laboratories.