Virological molecular diagnostic laboratory (VMDL)

Part of: Statutory animal disease testing

Area of Expertise:

The virological molecular diagnostic laboratory (VMDL), at AFBI Stormont provides frontline testing for DAERA on many suspect epizootic viruses.

Virological molecular diagnostic laboratory 

The testing of Avian Influenza Virus (AIV) and Avian Paramyxovirus -1 (APMV-1; Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV)) is accredited to ISO-17025 standard.

The portfolio of accredited tests is growing to include Bluetongue Virus (BTV) & Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV) following the successful SAPO3 licensing.

Industry sensitive virus identification

The VMDL also carries out a range of testing on industry sensitive viruses to assist in the diagnosis of animal disease. These include BTV, Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus (ILTV), Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) and Schmallenberg Virus (SBV). Specialist advice on animal viral diseases is given to the agricultural industry and veterinary profession.

Out of hours testing

The VMDL offers out of hours testing for DAERA on suspect viral epizootics and is actively involved in identifying emerging threats to the Northern Irish agri-industry. The VMDL is also active in contingency planning locally and nationally with National Reference Laboratories and training of staff to respond to outbreak scenarios.

Molecular techniques

The VMDL utilise molecular techniques to provide diagnostic testing and screening for many notifiable epizootic disease including:

  • Avian Influenza Virus (AIV)
  • Bluetongue Virus (BTV)
  • Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV)
  • African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV)
  • Avian Paramyxovirus -1 (APMV-1; Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV))
  • Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus (ILTV)
  • Pandemic Swine Influenza Virus (pH1N1)
  • Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV)
  • Schmallenberg Virus (SBV)
  • Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea Virus (PEDV)

Our diagnostic services cover:

  • Pre-import testing
  • Post-import testing
  • Active and passive surveillance
  • Molecular screening

Techniques applied:

  • Nucleic acid extraction
  • Conventional and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Genetic sequencing
  • Pathogenicity analysis
  • Gel electrophoresis

Sample submission:

  • The Virological Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory is open Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm. 
  • Samples must be submitted in accordance with packaging regulations e.g. IATA etc. and the appropriate paperwork, provided by our local DVO.
  • Advance notice of submissions is appreciated.
  • An emergency response system operates continuously outside office hours.