The Pirbright Institute receives strategic funding from BBSRC

In addition to fundamental and strategic research, The Pirbright Institute provides expertise and capacity for laboratory investigations to monitor livestock for high consequence viral diseases and underpins global disease control efforts. Specifically, The Pirbright Institute provides Reference Laboratories in respect of 10 exotic viral diseases of livestock. These Reference Laboratories work on behalf of national (Defra) and international organisations.

Reference Laboratories have skilled and expert personnel, validated diagnostic tests, essential reagents and archive materials (viruses, antisera), and in our case, facilities for experiments in animals, to respond to outbreaks in a timely manner. The principal services provided vary according to the client.

The Pirbright Institute offers diagnostic services for:

Non-vesicular diseases

  • African horse sickness
  • African swine fever
  • Bluetongue
  • Capripox viruses (goat pox, sheep pox and lumpy skin disease)
  • Epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus
  • Peste des petits ruminants

Vesicular diseases

  • Foot-and-mouth disease
  • Swine vesicular disease
  • Vesicular stomatitis
  • Vesicular exanthema of swine

The Pirbright Reference Laboratories provide the following services to Defra:

  • Tests to detect the pathogens or antibodies against them. This service is provided on a 24/7 basis
  • Modification and validation of tests to deal with new, variant forms of the pathogens
  • Laboratory characterisation of pathogens in order to determine their origin, make predictions about their likely mode of transmission and the success of different control strategies, such as vaccination
  • Supply of specialist reagents and materials to other laboratories in case multiple diagnostic centres are needed to deal with a major epidemic
  • Animal experiments with the pathogens in order to evaluate biological properties such as host specificity, routes of transmission and efficacy of vaccines
  • Advice

The services provided to international organisations (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the European Union, and the World Organisation for Animal Health, OIE) include:

  • Receiving samples from overseas for diagnosis and characterisation (strain-typing, vaccine-matching)
  • Organisation of inter-laboratory comparative testing exercises
  • Development and supply of reference materials and kits
  • Animal experiments with the pathogens in order to evaluate biological properties such as host specificity, routes of transmission, and efficacy of vaccines
  • Training scientists from other countries
  • Advice

Funding of the institutes Reference Laboratories comes from Defra, FAO and the EU.

Submission Forms:

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Vesicular Disease Reference Laboratory (VDRL) Serology

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Vesicular Disease Reference Laboratory (VDRL) Virology

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Non vesicular reference laboratory: Bluetongue Export / Pre-movement testing: Sample submission form

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Non vesicular reference laboratory general submission form

Testing within the Non vesicular reference laboratory is subject to a 5 working day turnaround. Please note: As of 5th January 2015, AHSV serology (ELISA) will be performed every Thursday.


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Kits and Reagent Price List

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Diagnostic Price List

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Terms and Conditions.

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Shipping Costs

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Packing Instructions

Shipment of Infectious Material

The following film provides advice on the safe and secure packaging and shipment of infectious material to The Pirbright Institute.

On some browsers to view full screen click here. (to download, right click on video then save (306MB))
Copyright Pirbright Institute ©

Please ensure all samples are adequately packaged to prevent breakage, address the package to the department/personnel for which you are requesting services. For samples to be sent to the reference laboratory please see the Diagnostic Price List for details on where to send the samples. For everything else please us the address below:

Attention: Contact person at The Pirbright Institute
The Pirbright Institute,
Ash Road,
GU24 0NF.

Please ensure sender information is given on the back of the package. Failure to do so may result in delayed results.