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Veterinary Research Institute earns certification from World Organisation for Animal Health to become the world’s 14th Reference Laboratory for Rabies


There was a ceremony on June 25 to mark the unveiling of the Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) as the world’s 14th Reference Laboratory for Rabies as so certified by the World Organisation for Animal Health. Deputy Minister of Agriculture Tu Wen-jane presented the certification document to Dr. Hsu Ai-ping of the VRI. The VRI has been accredited by the WOAH for its achievements and expertise in rabies diagnosis and research, and it  will be able to make important contributions towards prevention of animal and zoonotic disease.

The MOA states that the purpose behind the establishment of Reference Laboratories by the WOAH is to provide scientific expertise and technical support to deal with animal diseases, with the goal of promoting health and well-being for animals, the environment, and human beings worldwide. In verifying the qualifications of a Reference Laboratory, WOAH considers its expertise, capabilities, and quality control systems as well as its interactions with scholars and experts in the same field and its ability to provide multiple services including scientific and technical support and consultations. It is a signal honor for the VRI to have been certified by the WOAH as a Reference Laboratory for Rabies. In particular, given that there were already 13 WOAH-accredited Reference Laboratories for Rabies around the globe, the WOAH still felt it was necessary to express its appreciation of the VRI by naming it the 14th such laboratory.


With deep roots in Taiwan, the Reference Laboratory for Rabies aims to increase international cooperation

The MOA explains that following the occurrence of  cases of rabies in Formosan ferret-badgers in 2013, in 2014 the VRI signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation with the WOAH/World Health Organization/European Union Reference Laboratory for Rabies in France. Taiwan, France, and the WOAH further signed the WOAH twinning project for rabies in 2018, which was a major achievement in the area of international cooperation. Moreover, after the VRI was accredited by the European Union in 2017 as a designated laboratory for performing rabies antibody titration tests for the international movement of dogs and cats, the VRI became the one and only foreign rabies testing lab in Asia to be accredited by Japan.

The MOA notes that the VRI not only has a rabies laboratory quality assurance system that meets international ISO 17025 requirements, in 2022 it completed the organization of first Asian regional proficiency testing campaign for rabies diagnosis in the world (with participation by 11 laboratories in seven countries). Based on the above achievements by the VRI and its accomplishments in international cooperation, in 2022, as it was wrapping up its twinning project with the WOAH, the WOAH encouraged the VRI to apply to become a Reference Laboratory for Rabies. This accreditation was formally approved at the 91st General Session of the World Assembly of Delegates of the WOAH in May, 2024, giving Taiwan the world’s 14th Reference Laboratory for Rabies and the 4th in Asia. In the future the VRI will continue to operate in the spirit of serving its international partners, making a contribution to human and animal safety worldwide, and playing its part on the international stage.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture Tu Wen-janeWen-Jane, Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) Director General Deng Ming Chung, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency (APHIA) Director General Chiou Chwei-Jang, National Taiwan University Professor Tsai Hsiang-jung, Division Director Kao Huang-lin (from APHIA), and the VRI’s Dr. Hsu Ai-Ping at the unveiling ceremony.


Deputy Minister Tu Wen-janeWen-Jane gives the WOAH certification document to Hsu Ai-Ping.


Deputy Minister of Agriculture Tu Wen-janeWen-Jane delivers remarks at the unveiling ceremony.