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As part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, the goals and objectives for CAHFS are to provide high-quality outreach resources, contribute to the NAHLN data systems and networking, diagnostic systems, and response activation and decision support.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: CAHFS participation in the NAHLN will further the nation's animal health and strengthen the agricultural economy by providing outreach and training for disease diagnostics, expanded laboratory testing and diagnostic technologies, laboratory information management enhancements, and technical support for animal disease response activation within the United States. CAHFS will strengthen surveillance and diagnostics by providing laboratory support for USDA programs including CSF, AI, END, BSE, and others as they are developed by USDA program staff. Included in these activities are ongoing enhancements to laboratory quality assurance, assay and equipment platform validation and equivalency, select agent program participation, and requirements for emergency response preparedness. The early detection and rapid laboratory response following introduction of an animal disease agent, whether a naturally occurring or an intentional disease event, will facilitate rapid and appropriate recovery from a potential animal agriculture catastrophe in the U.S.

APPROACH: High-quality Outreach Resources: CAHFS will incorporate the NAHLN concept into veterinary student curriculum during the Introduction to Foreign Animal and Emerging Disease course. In addition, CAHFS will communicate NAHLN-related activities to industry/stakeholders through CAHFS client newsletter and appropriate presentations and will provide facilities and technical expertise for USDA/NAHLN tabletop exercises (Avian Influenza Response and Decision Support). Data Systems and Networking: CAHFS will provide technical and training support to NAHLN partners for further development and implementation of an integrated Laboratory Information Management system that includes the standards necessary to communicate with the USDA NAHLN repository. We will continue work with international standards organizations and allied animal health partners to meet the shared needs of the NAHLN and will develop technical and user-level documentation to assist in communication of program or disease specific data to NAHLN data repositories. Diagnostic Systems: CAHFS will continue to expand technical capacity and capability for CSF, FMD, AI (North American and Eurasian, Wildlife surveillance), END, and BSE testing. CAHFS will provide bench-level review and analytic validation of potential assays for emerging issue Bluetongue virus, e.g. surveillance and surge capable assay(s), and will maintain communication and diagnostic support with three national laboratory networks: NAHLN, FERN, LRN. CAHFS will participate in NAHLN review, validation and/or equivalency data and documentation for different equipment platforms including robotics, thermocycling, and nucleic/protein detection systems and will provide analytic review and bench validation of new technologies or approaches for rapid detection and diagnosis; e.g. real-time, rapid, and cost-effective gene target sequencing, open array technology or high-throughput differential detection of high-impact diseases. CAHFS will assist in development of national assay equivalency criteria which will allow rapid implementation and flexibility of diagnostic reagents and/or platforms and will continue quality assurance and documentation enhancements, and expand internal pool of trained auditors within CAHFS. CAHFS will maintain Select Agent registration and will continue and expand education of laboratory personnel on FAD preparedness, including review and update of Emergency Response Plan and emergency response specific-SOPs. Response Activation and Decision Support: CAHFS will develop and carry-out laboratory-specific emergency response exercises using FAD-specific scenarios and continue participation on the NAHLN CSF Change Control Board, Method Validation Committee, NAHLN Steering Committee, IT Change Control Board, and USDA National Surveillance Unit Steering Committee.

Hietala, Sharon
University of California - Davis
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