Important legal notice
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Animal health and welfare
Animal health and welfare - Improving animal diets and well-being
"To develop quick, robust, specific and sensitive diagnostic tests for viruses to prevent devastating outbreaks of animal disease."

The problem

The Office International des Epizooties (OIE) classifies List A animal diseases as having “the potential for very serious and rapid spread”. In recent years, EU Member States have suffered devastating outbreaks of List A viral diseases, including foot-and-mouth, classical swine fever, and avian influenza. Conventional laboratory-based methods for detecting these diseases are often cumbersome and time consuming. Improved laboratory and on-site methods are, therefore, needed for the rapid diagnosis of viruses to prevent future outbreaks.

LAB‑ON‑SITE  Improved detection methods for animal viruses


LAB-ON-SITE is utilising new and emerging technologies to develop novel diagnostic methods for nine OIE List A viral diseases. The project will:

  • Employ advances in rapid and portable PCR to develop simple real-time assays for diagnostics
  • Apply advances in nucleic acid detection (without thermocycling, padlock probes and rapid readout formats), and antigen-antibody detection (improved ELISA assays), to diagnostic testing
  • Develop rapid on-site methods for ‘first line’
    virus detection
  • Develop robust automated procedures for laboratory confirmation diagnosis
  • Validate, standardise and disseminate new diagnostic methods and protocols

Contribution to policy development:

  • Addresses recommendations of SCAHAW (the EU’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare) on improving virus diagnostic techniques to prevent disease outbreaks
  • Supports Union policies on food and feed safety (some of the targeted viruses are transmitted by food and
    feed products)
  • Underpins EU policies relating to animal welfare
  • Dissemination of new testing methods to non-EU countries will help prevent OIE List A diseases
    entering Europe

Project deliverables

  • Improved nucleic acid detection methods – November 2007
  • Improved viral antigen detection methods – November 2007
  • Simple dip-stick assays for rapid on-site detection of viruses – November 2007
  • Portable, automated and real-time PCR procedures – January 2008
  • Standardisation and validation of new molecular and antigen-antibody assays for the detection of OIE List A viruses – January 2008


  • Project website – November 2004
  • Link to MED-VET-NET – January 2008
  • Final report, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and presentations at scientific meetings – January 2008
  • Training and seminar programme – January 2008
  • Transfer of technology to EU and non-EU stakeholders – January 2008

Technical information

Project acronym: LAB-ON-SITE
Project’s official full title: New and Emerging Technologies: Improved Laboratory and On-site Detection of OIE List A Viruses in Animals and Animal Products
Research priority: 1.4. New and more environment friendly production methods to improve animal health and welfare including research on animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease, swine fever and development of marker vaccines
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 513645
Start date: 1 November 2004
Kick off meeting: November 2004
Completion date: 30 January 2008
European Commission scientific officer: Isabel Minguez-Tudela, and Philippe Martin,

Name: The National Veterinary Institute
Abbreviated name: SVA
Address: Department of Virology
Ulls väg 2B
SE-751 89 Uppsala
Country: Sweden
Tel: +46 18 67 41 35
Fax: +46 18 67 46 69


Name: The Queen’s University of Belfast
Abbreviated name: QUB
Country: UK

Name: Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research
Abbreviated name: DFVF
Country: Denmark

Name: Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Abbreviated name: UCM
Country: Spain

Name: Veterinary Institute of Debrecen
Abbreviated name: VID
Country: Hungary

Name: SVANOVA Biotech AB
Abbreviated name: SVANOVA
Country: Sweden           

Name: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia Romagna
Abbreviated name: IZSLER
Country: Italy

Name: Ghent University
Abbreviated name: UGENT
Country: Belgium

Name: Institute for Animal Health Pirbright
Abbreviated name: IAH
Country: UK