OIE Reference Laboratories are designated to pursue all the scientific and technical problems relating to a named disease. The Expert, responsible to the OIE and its Member Countries with regard to the disease, should be a leading and active researcher helping the Reference Laboratory to provide scientific and technical assistance and expert advice on topics linked to diagnosis and control of the disease for which the Reference Laboratory is responsible. Reference Laboratories should also provide scientific and technical training for personnel from Member Countries, and coordinate scientific and technical studies in collaboration with other laboratories or organisations, including through the OIE Laboratory Twinning programe.
In 2016, the OIE has a global network of 260 Reference Laboratories covering 119 diseases or topics in 39 countries, and 51 Collaborating Centres covering 46 topics in 26 countries.
Terms of Reference
- To use, promote and disseminate diagnostic methods validated according to OIE Standards;
- To recommend the prescribed and alternative tests or vaccines as OIE Standards;
- To develop reference material in accordance with OIE requirements, and implement and promote the application of OIE Standards;
- To store and distribute to national laboratories biological reference products and any other reagents used in the diagnosis and control of the designated pathogens or diseases;
- To develop, standardise and validate according to OIE Standards new procedures for diagnosis and control of the designated pathogens or diseases;
- To provide diagnostic testing facilities, and, where appropriate, scientific and technical advice on disease control measures to OIE Member Countries;
- To carry out and/or coordinate scientific and technical studies in collaboration with other laboratories, centres or organisations;
- To collect, process, analyse, publish and disseminate epizootiological data relevant to the designated pathogens or diseases;
- To provide scientific and technical training for personnel from OIE Member Countries;
- To maintain a system of quality assurance, biosafety and biosecurity relevant for the pathogen and the disease concerned;
- To organise and participate in scientific meetings on behalf of the OIE;
- To establish and maintain a network with other OIE Reference Laboratories designated for the same pathogen or disease and organise regular inter-laboratory proficiency testing to ensure comparability of results;
- To organise inter-laboratory proficiency testing with laboratories other than OIE Reference Laboratories for the same pathogens and diseases to ensure equivalence of results;
- To place expert consultants at the disposal of the OIE.