Members of the U.S.-China Scientific Cooperative Exchange Program (SCEP) toured the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) on Wednesday, May 7. The SCEP is a short-term, bilateral research and exchange program between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).The program aims for the Chinese participants to understand U.S. animal agriculture laws and regulations, animal disease monitoring systems and how safety monitoring of animal-derived food is conducted in the U.S. The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate Center of Excellence based at Texas A&M University, coordinated the twelve-day tour.
Tammy R. Beckham, DVM, PhD, director of TVMDL and IIAD, hosted the delegation at the laboratory. In addition to a full facility tour, the delegates took part in two presentations on diagnostic techniques.
“Knowledge sharing with countries, like China, that have a livestock industry on the scale of ours serves to further conversations on animal health,” said Dr. Beckham. “Zoonotic and transboundary diseases have a negative impact not only locally within a country, but on global economies, trade, food supply and human health. It is of great benefit to understand how a diagnostic laboratory like TVMDL conducts testing and surveillance for these diseases.”
The PRC delegates included Mr. Fu Zhang, programme officer, Department of Animal Protection, MOA; Dr. Wang Zhilang, chief veterinary officer, China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center; Mr. Wang Gongmin, deputy director general of the Veterinary Bureau, MOA; Ms. Song Junxia, director, Division of American and Oceanian Affairs, Veterinary Bureau, MOA; Ms. Zhiping Li, researcher in Division of American and Oceanian Affairs, DIC, MOA; Ms. Fei Kang, programme officer, Center of International Cooperation, MOA.
The delegation arrived in Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 1, and met with various federal government agencies until departing for College Station, on May 6. From May 7 through 12, the delegates will meet representatives from the TAMU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, among other Texas A&M System groups.
At TVMDL, Terry Hensley, DVM, assistant agency director, gave an overview of the agency, which encompasses four laboratories, and led the group tour. Following a lunch with TVMDL staff, the delegation participated in “Diagnostic Techniques for Brucellosis,” presented by assistant section head for serology, Ms. Sandy Rodgers.
“Brucellosis is a topic I present to many international groups because it is a worldwide problem,” said Rodgers. “TVMDL runs brucellosis diagnostics based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture program and our diagnosticians are certified yearly. Because this disease greatly affects international trade, it is beneficial when we can all learn the same, or standardized, diagnostic testing methods.”
The last session of the day focused on “Diagnostic Techniques in Toxicology,” presented by Tam Garland, DVM, PhD, and section head for toxicology. TVMDL’s toxicology section handles livestock show testing, conducts analysis of specimens to diagnose poisons or toxins, and can identify nutritional deficiencies of trace metals or vitamins in animal samples.
“Animal health starts at the local level, and veterinary diagnostic laboratories like TVMDL can be the key to identifying animal outbreaks early,” said Dr. Beckham. “It is our hope that we can strengthen both countries’ animal health programs through lessons learned during this cooperative exchange..”
For more information on the U.S.-China Scientific Cooperative Exchange Program, contact Heather Simmons, DVM, MSRVP, with IIAD at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, visit tvmdl.tamu.edu.
[via tvmdl.tamu.edu | U.S.-China Scientific Cooperative Exchange Program visits TVMDL]