This Network was established in 2004 as a forum for exchanging laboratory and epidemiology data for FMD, as well as to harmonise and improve the quality of diagnostic testing carried out by international and national FMD laboratories.
Recent data collected by the Network highlight how rapidly FMD virus lineages can spread in different parts of the world. Headline events for 2019 include the further expansion of the O/ME‑SA/Ind‑2001e lineage into Pakistan, as well as continued outbreaks due to the O/EA‑3 topotype (2018/19) in North Africa.
An important role of the Network laboratories is to provide recommendations for the selection of appropriate vaccines that can be used to control outbreaks. A central topic of the meeting was to agree region-standardised approaches that can be used to assess heterologous vaccine performance in order to provide empirical evidence to customers to ensure that vaccines are matched and sufficiently potent for use. In support of these activities, a new two‑year OIE Laboratory Twinning Project between the Pirbright Institute and the African Union Pan-African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU–PANVAC) is underway to establish capacity for the independent assessment of FMD vaccine quality in Africa.