The 16th annual meeting of the WOAH/FAO Reference Laboratory Network for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) was held virtually in November 2021.
Headline events during 2021 included the introduction of the O/EA-2 topotype into Southern Africa, where cases represent the first occurrence of serotype O anywhere in the region since 2000, and the continued spread of the O/ME-SA/Ind-2001e lineage in West and South-East/East Asia. The network also reviewed progress in the development of harmonised approaches to assess the performance of FMD vaccines, and discussed new open-access ‘dashboard’ tools that will facilitate the display of data collected from the partners, including a new database of FMDV sequences.
The WOAH/FAO Reference Laboratory Network for FMD was established in 2004 as a forum to exchange laboratory and epidemiology data for FMD, as well as to harmonise and improve the quality of diagnostic testing carried out by national and international FMD laboratories. The network has been taken as a model in the creation of other WOAH Reference Laboratory Networks for African swine fever, peste des petits ruminants and rabies. During the meeting, the WOAH Reference Laboratory for FMD in the United Kingdom (The Pirbright Institute) was elected to serve a further three-year term as the Network Secretariat.