SCAHLS represents the activities of the veterinary laboratory network of Australia and New Zealand and is a subcommittee of the Animal Health Committee, reporting to the National Biosecurity Committee.
ANZSDPs and new test approval update
The Australian and New Zealand Standard Diagnostic Procedure (ANZSDP) for Footrot has recently been approved by SCAHLS. This procedure was authored by Nicky Buller from Western Australia and Graeme Eamens from New South Wales. Other ANZSDPs that are expected to be published in the near future include: antimicrobial susceptibility testing, betanodavirus, Johne’s disease and equine herpesvirus.
ANZSDPs (both terrestrial and aquatic) provide a valuable guide to animal health laboratory diagnosticians and scientists on suitable current test methods for a range of infectious animal diseases. A complete list of published ANZSDPs is available on this website.
SCAHLS has recently approved the Hendra virus soluble G indirect ELISA (HeV sG iELISA). This test was developed by the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory and validated with the assistance of the Laboratories for Emergency Animal Disease Diagnosis and Response (LEADDR) Network. The HeV sG iELISA is for the detection of equine serum antibodies against Hendra virus G envelope antigen. The test can be used for disease investigation, surveillance and proof of freedom testing and for the certification of horses when moving internationally.
Any tests that differ from an established (standard) test must be favourably evaluated by SCAHLS before inclusion in an ANZSDP. It is important that new tests developed for national animal disease programs, including certification testing, are subjected to the SCAHLS test approval process to ensure the rigour of peer review and jurisdictional approval. Once a new test is approved it will be published on the SCAHLS website. The new test is considered to carry the same weight as those written in the current ANZSDP (if available) and will be incorporated into the next version at the earliest opportunity. All SCAHLS-approved tests are listed on this website.
The SCAHLS workshop held in February 2014 focused on both ANZSDPs and the new test evaluation process. A number of changes, which aim to further enhance the structure, timeliness and process of ANZSDP production and new test approval, have since been implemented. In particular, an algorithm will be used to prioritise proposals for new or revised ANZSDPs so that unnecessary duplication (especially with the OIE manual for diagnostic tests) can be avoided and some processes simplified. If you would like any more information on this matter please contact SCAHLS by email.
Update on the LEADDR Network
The Laboratories for Emergency Animal Disease Diagnosis and Response (LEADDR) Network held its annual face to face meeting in Geelong, Victoria in November last year, coinciding with the annual Australian Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) meeting. All jurisdictions were represented. Throughout 2013, a considerable number of quality assurance related activities were successfully coordinated by Gemma Carlile (Acting LEADDR Coordinator) to harmonise or standardise the network testing for various targeted terrestrial and aquatic animal diseases. In particular, Multispecies Influenza A ELISA kits were produced and distributed to the LEADDR network with funding support from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture. The network participated in a multispecies proficiency testing program using these kits in late 2013, with results showing evidence of standardisation across the network.
The proficiency testing program has commenced for 2014. The first tests under consideration are for the detection of influenza. Samples for the influenza PCR and ELISA panels were sent out in February with results expected in April. This year we welcome the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries as an approved associated LEADDR member, they will be participating in select proficiency testing rounds this year. We also welcome Kim Halpin as the new LEADDR Coordinator who will commence her role in April 2014.