The Project Directorate on FMD is the premier institute in the country under ICAR and has the cutting-edge scientific expertise in understanding and coordinating FMD surveillance, epidemiology and diagnosis in the country. This Directorate on regular basis advices the government through ICAR regarding appropriateness of vaccine strains to be used in vaccine for the country including selection, maintenance and supply of suitable vaccine strains for use in FMD vaccine production in the country and vaccination policy suitable for the country to control FMD. This directorate is the technical arm of the FMD control programme being underway in the country sine X Plan period by the GOI (DAHD&F). Central laboratory of the project, located at Mukteswar, produces and supplies standardized reagents (virus/antigen and serum/antibody etc.) along with test protocol developed at the laboratory to all the 23 centers/network units spread across the country for use in FMD virus serotyping by ELISA and post-vaccinal sero conversion (FMD control programme) by LPB ELISA. This activity ensures uniformity in test procedure and results accrued necessary for planning and updating FMD control programme in the country, and the region (SAARC). The project has developed a virus and serum repository and genome sequence data base at the central laboratory with yearly updating. Networking of almost all geographical regions of the country. Acts as the Regional Leading Diagnostic laboratory (RLDL) for SAARC countries to lead FMD control and eradication campaign in the South Asian Region. Active Collaboration with International laboratories and agencies (USDA, WRL on FMD, FAO etc.). differentiation of FMD virus infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA) has been developed at Central FMD Laboratory, Project Directorate on FMD, Mukteswar. This indigenously developed rDIVA-FMD kit, amenable to mass scale comprehensive sero-surveillance, is first of its kind for any animal disease in the country and has been designed as per the OIE approved guidelines and is at least four-fold cheaper at Rs. 25,000 per 450 tests than the commercial DIVA kits available on import. Actively taking part in seromonitoring of FMD control programme being run by Govt. of India by providing companion diagnostics like LPBELISA. Initiated National FMD sero-surveillance to understand prevalence of the virus in different parts of the country, the virus reservoirs and the herd immunity. A trained work force for undertaking FMD diagnosis and seromonitoring was created across the country for which time to time training on various diagnostic techniques were conducted at Central FMD Laboratory, Mukteswar. Three diagnostic kits were produced as required and supplied to all laboratories working on FMD including industry so that uniformity in results was ascertained with harmonization of the diagnostic tests and also made the country self sufficient in FMD diagnostics. The prevalence of the VP359 deletion mutant of Serotype A virus in the country has been confirmed. The absence of the Serotype C virus has been confirmed in the country since 1995, as a result of which the Serotype C virus has been excluded from the earlier used tetravalent FMD vaccine to make it trivalent and comparatively a cheaper FMD vaccine. The FMD virus serotype specific vaccine strains are identified and supplied to the vaccine industry in the country with uniform indigenous vaccine strains for production and use of FMD vaccine in the country. Regular vaccine matching exercise is undertaken using the field isolates and bovine vaccinated serum (BVS) to determine the antigenic relationship (r values) existing between the field isolates and the in use vaccine strains to establish the protective ability of the vaccine strains, which has been validated internally by the world referral laboratory on FMD. Battery of candidate vaccine strains are in ready for future use in case of exigency. Project Directorate on FMD, Mukteswar is adjudged as “FAO SAARC Regional Leading Diagnostic Laboratory on FMD” in South Asia. Project Directorate on FMD, Mukteswar, is a member of the Global FMD Research Alliance (GFRA) as recognition for its proficiency in FMD diagnosis, epidemiology and research at global level.

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