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CISA High Biosafety Laboratory (CISA)
Hosting Legal Entity
National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology
Carretera de Algete a El Casar, Valdeolmos (Madrid), PO: 28130 (Spain)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 1993
Scientific Description
The Animal Health Research Centre (Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal, CISA), part of the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA), Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, is a multidisciplinary research centre created in 1993 to expand the actions of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in the field of animal health.CISA is a centre for research and surveillance focused on the prevention, diagnosis and control of emerging, re-emerging and transboundary infectious diseases of livestock with economical and sanitary impact, including zoonoses, that may cause restrictions in trade and a serious impact on public health and food security. Its primary mission is to promote advanced research, technology development, cooperation with national and international bodies and technology transfer in the area of animal health, following the strategic priorities agreed by organisations and national and international forums of relevance in the area.CISA is designed in three different work areas: biosecurity (biosafety levels 3 and 3+), environmental health and administration. BSL3 animal facility is part of the focal points in Spain to work with high risk biological agents. Researchers from other institutions and pharmaceutical companies make use of the animal facility to develop specialised BSL3 in vivo experiments. Main activities include: 1) Research in animal science at the highest level; 2) Activities such as national reference laboratory in Spain and Europe in various diseases of great public health importance; 3) Collaborative activities and services to various public, private, national and international entities, in the field of research and development in animal health; 4) Active collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, giving support in certain tasks of the National Reference Laboratories; 5) Repository of biological materials useful for Spanish research in animal health and 6) Activities of national and international cooperation including organizing training courses, workshops stays and scientific-technical organization of interlaboratory testing, evaluation and validation of diagnostic and vaccine technologies, technology transfers.

RI Keywords
Biocontainment, Biosafety levels 3 and 3+, Animal facilities, Animal health research
RI Category
Cell Culture Facilities
Animal facilities
Environmental Health Research Facilities
Collections of Biological Resources (e.g. Microorganisms, Biobanks and Seed Banks)
Scientific Domain
Biological and Medical Sciences
ESFRI Domain
Health and Food
Sequencing service

Sequencing service for internal and external use.

Epidemiology and environmental health

Diagnostic studies and evaluation of processes arising from health and environmental toxicants affecting animal populations. Risk assessment and environmental impact of farming, agro-industrial effluents and veterinary medicines affecting intensive or extensive systems of production, or natural populations.

Biosafety level (BSL) 3 and 3+ facility of 10,824 m2, BSL3 animal facility

Researchers from other institutions and pharmaceutical companies make use of the animal facility to develop specialised BSL3 in vivo experiments.

Early diagnosis of most of the important emerging and transboundary infectious diseases

i) Participation in the early warning system; ii) epidemiology and risk assessment studies; iii) participation in surveillance programmes, including production and distribution of biological reagents and diagnostic kits; iv) prevalence studies and characterization of pathogens causing shared diseases (public health, livestock, wildlife) in wild reservoirs; v) harmonization of diagnostic methods through organization of interlaboratory comparison tests at national level; vi) improvement of knowledge and development of new tools for diagnosis of transboundary diseases, specially those at higher risk of entrance; vii) assessment of commercial diagnostics kits, control of biological products.

European Union (and FAO, under evaluation) Reference Laboratory for African swine fever

Scientific and technical activities as ASF Reference Laboratory include: i) coordination of methods employed, standardization of tests and reagents; ii) harmonization of diagnostic techniques of national reference laboratories (NRLs) of Member states and third countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, diagnosis; iii) production and distribution of serological and virological diagnostic kits and reagents worldwide; iv) training courses and technology transfer, on diagnostic techniques, ASFV characterization and production of reagents; v) international missions through organisms and collaborations and vi) and participation in R&D projects.

Biosafety level (BSL) 3 and 3+ facility of 10,824 m2

42 laboratories and an BLS3 animal facility consisting of 19 individual, multi-species and polyvalent rooms with the capability to shelter fish, small and large animals. The rooms include shower area and animal housing. They are contained through three depression levels which allow for working with aerosol transmissible agents, such as foot and mouth disease, avoiding the risk of spreading to other areas. Researchers from other institutions and pharmaceutical companies make use of the animal facility to develop specialised BSL3 in vivo experiments.

BSL-2 laboratories

A restricted BSL-2 Area is located outside the BSL facility. This area consists of 10 laboratories equipped with the appropriate infrastructure for epidemiology and risk assessment, toxicological bioassays, sequencing and molecular biology and diagnosis of infectious diseases, including wild life species. This area supports BSL3 studies in the area of epidemiology and risk assessment and is also used by researchers for those specific cases and/or partial studies not requiring BSL3.

Red de Laboratorios de Alerta Biológica (RELAB) [Biological Alert Laboratories Network, Spain]
Animal Health and Welfare ERA-Net (ANIHWA)
EPIZONE European Research Group (ERG)
European Network for Animal Disease and Infectiology Research Facilities (NADIR)
Date of last update: 17/03/2017
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