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Enabling Research

Enabling Research is identified as a prime element of EMPRES which emphasises the collaboration between FAO and scientific centres of excellence in directing research efforts towards problem solving. EMPRES maintains close contact with FAO reference and collaborating centres.

EMPRES has nominated a number of World Class institutions as reference laboratories and collaborating centres for a number of diseases. These institutions serve has valuable research partners in the fight against transboundary animal diseases. EMPRES also convenes from time to time, technical consultations or consultative groups to identify research needs and priorities.

The support of FAO for research in priority diseases and to reference laboratories remains critically important.

The role of the Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright, UK, as the World Reference Laboratory for both rinderpest and FMD, is particularly relevant as it provides a source of verification for national laboratory testing and facilitates the application of molecular epidemiology for tracing the spread of pathogens.

The laboratory of the "Institut d'Elevage et Médecine Vétérinaire" at Montpellier has been designated as the World Reference Laboratory for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and has been involved with the Pan-African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (PANVAC) in standardising new vaccine strains for "peste des petits ruminants" (PPR) and CBPP. A Japan-funded project has enabled EMPRES through PANVAC to promote vaccine technology transfer, standardisation and quality assurance principles for vaccines in Africa.

The FAO-IAEA Joint Division on Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture has been instrumental in introducing and expanding diagnostic capabilities in developing countries, with initial emphasis on rinderpest diagnosis and on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) as the appropriate technology.

Subsequently, the programme has expanded to include PPR, FMD, CBPP, RVF, swine fever and other diseases. The range of diagnostic technology has also expanded, especially into polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques for detection and characterisation of pathogens. The Joint Division activities and introduction of laboratory diagnostic capability has been directly linked to EMPRES.

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