Main European Union Reference Laboratories activities are to:
- Coordinate in consultation with the Commission the methods employed by Member States for diagnosing diseases of bivalve molluscs
- Assist actively in the diagnosis of disease outbreaks in Member States by receiving pathogens isolates for confirmatory diagnosis, characterisation and epizootic studies
- Facilitate the training or retraining of experts in laboratory diagnosis with a view to the harmonisation of diagnostic techniques throughout Europe
- Collaborate as regards methods of diagnosing exotic diseases, with competent laboratories in third countries where those diseases are prevalent.
Picture: Processing Pacific oysters Crassostrea gigas for histology examination (picture J-P. Joly).
Extract from the Annex VI, Part 1 of the Directive 2006/88/EC explaining the functions and duties of a EURL:
"The "European Union" reference laboratories shall:
- coordinate, in consultation with the Commission, the methods employed in the Member States for diagnosin the disease concerned, specifically by:
- typing, storing and, where appropriate, supplying strains of the pathogen of the relevant disease to facilitate the diagnostic service in the Community,
- supplying standard sera and other reference reagents to the national reference laboratories in order to standardise the tests and reagents used in each Member State, where serological tests are required,
- organising periodic comparative tests (ring tests) of diagnostic procedures at Community level with the national reference laboratories designated by the Member States, in order to provide information on the methods of diagnosis used and the results of tests carried out in the Community;
- retaining expertise on the relevant disease pathogen and other pertinent pathogens to enable rapid differential diagnosis;
- assist actively in the diagnosis of outbreaks of the relevant disease in Member States by receiving pathogen isolates or confirmatory diagnosis, characterisation and epizootic studies;
- facilitate the training or retraining of experts in laboratory diagnosis with a view to harmonising diagnostic techniques throughout the Community;
- collaborate, as regards methods of diagnosing animal diseases falling within their areas of competence, with the competent laboratories in third countries where those diseases are prevalent;
- collaborate with the relevant OIE reference laboratories with regard to exotic diseases listed in Part II of Annex IV under their responsibility;
- collate and forward information on exotic and endemic diseases, that are potentially emerging in Community aquaculture."