Identifying Disease Risks and Providing Solutions

More than just medicines, Merck Animal Health is committed to providing its customers with a range of comprehensive solutions. Merck Animal Health’s Center for Diagnostic Solutions doesn’t just run tests – it helps give our customers the answers they need to keep their animals healthy and improve their businesses.

The Center for Diagnostic Solutions features one of the largest collections of pathogen and sera samples in the world, which it cross-references to identify infectious agents that may be affecting a customer’s operations. The Center can also assess the level of disease protection in animals, which is critical for helping farmers implement the right treatment and vaccination strategies. For example, the Center plays an important role in Merck Animal Health’s ResPig® Management System, which helps identify areas of improvement in porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC) control and prevention strategies, and helps our customers understand the costs and potential outcomes of those strategies. The Center analyzes samples from the program, helping farms monitor for respiratory disease in their operations and better protect against PRDC, a major economic and health concern for them.

Today, the Center processes more than 200,000 tests annually for diseases in swine, poultry, and ruminants. A unique feature of the Center is that it allows for the import of pathogen and sera samples from all over the world, which gives it the ability to monitor for the development of potentially harmful new pathogenic agents. In the past five years, 35 countries have submitted samples to the Center.

Through local and satellite laboratories, the Center also works alongside customers in the field to help them troubleshoot issues specific to their production. For example, the Center’s laboratory in Jordan has been fully trained in several techniques that are also used by the Center for Diagnostic Solutions in The Netherlands, so that it can support the region’s diverse needs.

The Center also provides hands-on trainings, covering topics such as test techniques, sample preparations, implementation of quality assurance systems, and planning of laboratory layouts. Recently, the Center worked with a leading food producer in the Asia Pacific region, helping them optimize their diagnostic lab activities to provide greater insight into the health status of their animals. The training covered techniques including egg culture, ELISA and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), as well as the ciliostasis test, which can be used to determine the level of protection in poultry flocks against infectious bronchitis virus, a disease that can affect growth and egg production.

In addition to the Center’s direct work with customers, it also helps ensure the availability of effective treatments through its support of Merck Animal Health Research and Development (R&D).

As the Center for Diagnostic Solutions continues to develop, a key focus remains on introducing more diagnostic methods, including ones that would allow for on-farm testing. As it has been since its founding in 1992, the Center is guided by a mission to strengthen Merck Animal Health’s partnerships with our customers by providing them with state-of-the-art diagnostic solutions.