Objectives and Strategy
The CODA-CERVA's essential missions encompass the tasks of a public and scientific research service in the fields of veterinary medicine and food safety.
The CODA-CERVA provides scientific and technical support, at both the national and international levels, concerning the control of communicable animal diseases, the protection of public health, the guarantee of animal and plant food production quality from the standpoint of zoonosis, residues and contaminants. This results in the following missions:
A. The improvement of diagnostic and prophylactic methods for more efficient control of animal diseases, with particular emphasis on diseases with a direct or indirect impact on human health.
- A new unit has been created whose specific mission is the development and implementation of molecular analyses, possibly in large numbers, for the detection and characterisation of particularly contagious viruses (list of the World Organisation for Animal Health, OIE)
- research into antibiotic resistance and, more specifically, into MRSA in animal species is intensifying in order to determine what impact these animal issues can have on human health
B. As a national reference laboratory (NRL) for Belgian and international authorities:
- scientific research in view of the development and implementation of new scientific analytical techniques and methodologies related to veterinary medicine and food safety;
- after isolation, identification and characterisation of aetiological agents, official confirmation of legally regulated diseases,
- to effectively monitor all animal diseases and certain human pathogens, CODA-CERVA is in direct contact with the FAFSC and with regional screening centres and organises an on-call service (24/7) for urgent diagnostics.
C. The study of new animal diseases, epidemiology and animal disease risk analysis, mainly for those diseases with a direct or indirect impact on human health, along with the study of the role of wildlife in the dissemination of these diseases.
- In this context, the CODA-CERVA is currently developing a national online reporting strategy for new health issues ((re-)emergent diseases), in collaboration with the FAFSC
, regional screening centres and with the concerned university faculties.
D. Scientific research in view of the development and implementation of best scientific techniques and methods for the detection of contaminants and evolution of the risks for the quality and saftey of animal and plant production.
In order to accomplish its research mission, the CODA-CERVA employs various categories of personnel spread over the 4 operational directions : statutory agents, juridical personality staff and contract researchers funded by the Federal Public Service, Health, Food chain and Environment (FPS) the European Union and the Communities. In all, more than 180 researchers and technicians, supported in their work by the administrative staff.
The more technically oriented reference tasks are performed in collaboration with the CODA-CERVA's scientific personnel, veterinary surgeons and engineers employed with FAFSC funding (Veterinary Diagnostic Coordination and Food Safety), staffing, along with the collection and stamping department.
In this context, the scientific staff is in charge of the scientific supervision and is solely responsible for reference tasks including pathogen isolation, identification and characterization, as well as the analyses of food and feed contaminants such as heavy metals and mycotoxins.