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Laboratory Twinning – a tool to
improve global disease security
Keith Hamilton
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
An intergovernmental organisation,
founded in 1924
178 Members Countries
Headquarters in Paris, France
 6 Regional offices
 6 Regional sub offices
OIE International Standards
Terrestrial Animal Health Code –
mammals, birds and bees
Aquatic Animal Health Code – fish,
molluscs and crustaceans
Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines
for Terrestrial Animals
Manual of Diagnostic Tests for
Aquatic Animals
OIE Quality Standard and Guidelines for
Veterinary Laboratories: Infectious
Available in 3 languages and on the OIE website
Mandate of an OIE Reference Laboratory
(disease based)
Centre of expertise and standardisation – develop and uphold OIE
Technical advice, diagnostic services and training
Confirmatory testing, pathogen isolation and characterisation report positive findings to the international community
Develop new diagnostic tests
Publish and disseminate useful information
Mandate of an OIE Collaborating Centres
(competence based)
Centre of research, expertise, standardisation and dissemination of
Provide technical advice and training
Develop new techniques and procedures
Publish and disseminate useful information
Place expert consultants at the disposal of OIE
The twinning concept
Sustainable enhancement of capacity and
expertise by supporting
a link between
an OIE RL or CC (parent) and
a national laboratory (candidate)
Aims and objectives - expertise
To build scientific communities and improve compliance
with OIE standards
Improved access to high quality diagnostics and
technical assistance for more OIE Member
Eventually for some Candidates to apply for ‘reference’
To help countries to enter scientific debate on an equal
footing with others
Aims and objectives - networking
Extend the OIE network of expertise to provide better
global geographical coverage for priority diseases in
priority areas
To form long and lasting links between the two institutes
Strengthen global disease surveillance networks
To strengthen national scientific networks
Project length is 1-3 years
For OIE listed diseases or topics
Focus on expertise
No funding for hardware or upgrading of facilities
Ultimate aim to reach OIE reference status
OIE Standards and guidelines for biosafety and biosecurity in
veterinary laboratories
To protect health of staff, the general public, animal
populations, the environment, and the pathogen
Steps after twinning
• Engaging with the international scientific
• Joining disease networks
• Joint research opportunities
• Applying for OIE Reference Laboratory status