Advances in viral disease diagnostic and molecular epidemiological technologies

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The early and rapid detection and characterization of specific nucleic acids of medico–veterinary pathogens have proven invaluable for diagnostic purposes. The integration of amplification and signal detection systems, including online real-time devices, have increased speed and sensitivity and greatly facilitated the quantification of target nucleic acids. They have also allowed for sequence characterization using melting or hybridization curves. The newer-generation molecular diagnostic technologies offer, hitherto, unparalleled detection and discrimination methodologies, which are vital for the positive detection and identification of pathogenic agents, as well as the effects of the pathogens on the production of antibodies. The development phase of the novel technologies entails a thorough understanding of accurate diagnosis and discrimination of present and emerging diseases. The development of novel technologies can only be successful if they are transferred and used in the field with a sustainable quality-assured application to allow for the optimal detection and effective control of diseases. The aim of these new tools is to detect the presence of a pathogen agent before the onset of disease. This manuscript focuses mainly on the experiences of two World Organisation for Animal Health collaborating centers in context to molecular diagnosis and molecular epidemiology of transboundary and endemic animal diseases of viral origin, food safety and zoonoses.

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