The primary and most significant activities are listed below:
- The CRN-NRL’s annual laboratory activity includes on average about 15,000 MIC susceptibility tests of zoonotic bacterial isolates, animal pathogens and indicator bacteria sent by the IIZZSS (under control plans in accordance with Dec Comm 2013/652/EU , Regulation 2003/2160/EC and the official control of feed and food surveillance activities, in accordance with Articles 12, 33, 53 of Regulation 882/2004/EC and Reg. 2073/2005/EC);
- The CRN-NRL promotes a valid and rational approach to antimicrobial susceptibility testing (e.g. ‘antibiogram’) for diagnostic ‘services’, especially among the IIZZSS:
- Lab tests (and ‘findings’ for any clinical ‘diagnostic’ purposes) have in fact a dual function: to correctly direct the most suitable antibiotic therapy (case-level) and promote responsible and rational use of antibiotics in veterinary practice (population-level).
- ‘The CRN-NRL-AR strongly publicizes the principle that the etiological diagnoses (agent/agents responsible for the disease), of individuals and groups, is the cornerstone of the approach for the control/therapy/etc. of infectious diseases. The simple ‘antibiogram’ for bacterial agents responsible for a disease is one of the most ‘delicate’ laboratory tests and one of the most critical ”diagnostic activities’. It affects the choice of treatment and the need for ‘evidence of validity’, through validated or accredited Reference Standards and Standard Operating Procedures.
The CRN-NRL-AR has made a quick guideline available and has updated it over the years for the benefit of the IIZZSS, the veterinary practitioners and Public Health veterinarians. This guideline recommends the use of a ‘consistent’ panel of antibiotic molecules for testing, which are representative of the various classes and subclasses used in Veterinary Medicine.
- It facilitates evidence of validity of susceptibility tests in the IIZZSS network and organises an annual ring trial;
- It collaborates with the Ministry of Health and updates the guidelines on ‘Biosafety, rational and proper use of antibiotics in animal husbandry’;
- The CRN-NRL produces reports and summary information for national and community surveillance purposes, according to current legislation (Directive 99/2003/EC, implemented by Legislative Decree No 191/2006). This information on animal or zoonotic pathogens (e.g. Salmonella, Campylobacter, S. aureus and MRSA), and on commensal bacterial species is usually based on phenotypic tests (Antimicrobial Susceptibility Tests, AST, e. g. Minimum Inhibitory Concentration) but it is confirmed, whenever necessary, using molecular techniques and by studying the genes responsible for developing resistance to major classes of antibiotic molecules. single-locus sequencing, multilocus sequence typing, phylogrouping, PFGE, array testing, plasmid detection and characterization etc. of isolates of various pathogens and commensal bacteria, including methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant aureus (e. g. mecA, mecC detection, spa-typing, MLST, PFGE, SCCmec typing) according to international standards.
- It produces and regularly revises guidelines and technical-scientific documents on the CRN-NRL website;
- It provides expertise training and information, to benefit practitioners in the fields of farm animal and companion animal health, and in veterinary public health.