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Diagnostics & Surveillance

The Pirbright Institute provides expertise and capacity to monitor livestock for high consequence viral diseases and underpins global disease control efforts. Specifically, the Institute hosts reference laboratories for 10 exotic viral diseases of livestock. These reference laboratories work on behalf of UK national (Defra) and international organisations (including the OIE and FAO).

The reference laboratories at The Pirbright Institute offer an international diagnostic service for African horse sickness, African swine fever, bluetongue, capripox (sheep pox, goat pox and lumpy skin disease), foot-and-mouth disease, Marek's disease, peste des petits ruminants and swine vesicular disease.

A free service for analysing samples from livestock suspected to be infected with the above-mentioned viruses is available for up to 50 samples per country per year (free testing of 50 samples per year is not available for Marek’s disease). Testing is carried out on behalf of the national competent authority of the submitting country, the OIE / FAO will be informed of test results. Submitters should be aware that samples will be processed subject to laboratory workload and priority of submission.

When submitting samples for testing please take care to package the samples properly. Samples that are known or suspected to contain the above viruses are classified as dangerous goods for shipping purposes. Dangerous goods need to be packed to certain minimum standards, failure to do this could result in packages being detoyed during transit.

Our advice on packing >

The submitter is responsible for the cost for shipping and customs clearance, which may be subsequently invoiced.

The  Reference Laboratories collaborate with other Reference Laboratories and partners to facilitate international disease control.

The Pirbright Institute offers diagnostic testing for:

Other diagnostic services

In addition to diagnostic testing we offer a range of other services, which include:

Validation of kits

Serological FMDV kit validation for Structural Protein and Non-Structural Protein ELISAs is available.

Kit validation >

Disinfectant testing

The Pirbright Institute offers efficacy testing for disinfectants against Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) and Swine vesicular disease virus (SVDV).

Disinfectant testing >

DNA Validation of real-time (RT-)PCR

The reference laboratories can perform evaluation and validation of real-time (RT-)PCR assays for each of the viruses under their remit.

PCR validation >


The Pirbright Institute offers a range of products, which include reagents, diagnostic kits and midges.

Products >

Screening for exclusion of extraneous viruses

Drugs, vaccines and other material can be screened for the absence of certain livestock viruses.

Virus screening >


The Pirbright Institute offers training courses associated with the diagnosis of viruses affecting livestock.

Training >

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