The opening ceremony for the leading classical swine fever (CSF) reference laboratory in the world took place at the Council of Agriculture’s Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI) on June 6. In the ceremony, COA Minister Lin Tsung-hsien issued the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) CSF reference laboratory certificate to the laboratory’s Chief Specialist Dr. Chang Chia-yi in order to commend her effort and devotion to the study of CSF, which is finally recognized by the international community, thus contributing significantly to the animal disease prevention in Taiwan.
The COA stated that the OIE's purpose for establishing reference laboratories is to offer solution to the diagnosis of major malignant diseases which threaten animal health and related trade, while offering services such as providing relevant scientific data and assistance to disease control and monitoring. The OIE takes into consideration the following aspects when qualifying a reference laboratory: research achievements, laboratory equipment and management, active cooperation with researchers and specialists in the same field, ability to offer scientific and technical support as well as consultation, among other functions. Therefore, AHRI's receiving the recognition from the OIE as CSF reference laboratory was indeed an important distinction.
The CSF reference laboratory’s task load is rather demanding. In addition to assisting member countries on the diagnostic methodology of relevant animal diseases and offering timely technologies as well as reagent sets needed for diagnosis, it is also necessary to enhance research capacity while finding new diagnostic methods to share with other OIE member countries. Furthermore, it must also provide member countries with technical training for relevant disease diagnosis and engage in inter-laboratorial collaboration as well as performance reviews in order to facilitate animal disease control and resource sharing for OIE members.
CSF is listed as a major malignant infectious disease by the OIE and Taiwan has been one of the eight countries possessing OIE recognized CSF reference laboratory
The AHRI has devoted to CSF research for decades, from its successful development of the Lapinized Philippines Coronel (LPC) vaccine that effectively put the malignant infectious disease which threatened the entire pig-farming industry under control to being the eighth CSF reference laboratory recognized by OIE in line with Germany, United Kingdom, Poland, Canada, Japan, China and Spain.
According to the AHRI, Dr. Chang Chia-yi has devoted to the study of CSF after joining the AHRI, whose doctorate dissertation was based on the disease. Chang has participated and spoken extensively in both domestic and international CSF seminars, and has more than a dozen papers published in top scientific journals, which make Chang’s research and reputation highly respected in the field. On July 15,2016, Taiwan’s permanent representative to the OIE, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) Deputy Director-General Shih Tai-hua submitted Dr. Chang’s research to the OIE and applied for designation. On October 11, the OIE informed that its science committee had reviewed and passed the application. Consequently on May 23, 2017, it was listed as CSF reference laboratory during the 85th general session.
Steady development from CSF reference laboratory to CSF elimination
The AHRI explained that the highly infectious and extremely fatal nature of CSF, this swine disease can easily inflict enormous damage to the pig-farming industry. Even though the LPC vaccine has achieved great positive results and for more than a decade there has not been any report of clinical cases, the AHRI still encourages the general public and the pig-farming industry not to overlook the importance of CSF prevention. Although the existence of a quite effective vaccine contributes greatly to disease prevention, the slightest negligence could easily lead to another CSF outbreak. Since Taiwan has successfully controlled the disease and the AHRI’s laboratory received OIE's recognition as CSF reference laboratory, various administrative measures to eliminate CSF could be realized step by step under solid scientific basis and technical support.