Sunday, September 19, 2021

Infectious disease surveillance service

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has announced steps towards re-establishing on a long-term basis the essential equine infectious disease surveillance provision that had been performed by the Animal Health Trust (AHT) until its closure in July 2020.

Acting on the recommendations of an industry-wide committee set up to assess options for the future, HBLB has concluded an agreement from August 2021 with Rossdales Ltd to provide the diagnostic microbiology testing capacity, in conjunction with the epidemiological surveillance and monitoring unit that will now be based at the University of Cambridge Veterinary School.

The former AHT team, headed by Dr Richard Newton, will be employed by Cambridge University under the new agreement and will continue to respond to disease outbreak incidents and to produce daily updates on infectious disease reports worldwide for the benefit of the health of all horses, Thoroughbred and non-Thoroughbred.  

Dr Alastair Foote, director of Rossdales Laboratories, added: “We are delighted to have been awarded the tender, and to be able to provide continuity of the former AHT services that were critical to the equine industry, maintaining essential diagnostic testing and surveillance work.  Our recent major investment in new laboratory facilities at our Newmarket site has meant we have been able to rapidly accommodate the required testing requirements, with new tissue culture and virus isolation facilities, and we look forward to working alongside the surveillance and research team at Cambridge.”

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