Scientist in PPE

Changes To The Testing Schedule at Biobest

Changes To The Testing Schedule at Biobest

 

In these unprecedent times, we at Biobest Laboratories are doing everything we can to continue providing the services our customers depend on, whilst protecting our staff from infection risk.  To help us achieve this goal we are, from Monday 19Oct20, changing the working patterns for our lab staff.  This will involve moving to a shift working model with the lab operating for longer hours each day and our scientists working differing hours to reduce the number of staff in the lab at any given time.

 

What this means for our customers

 

In many cases this change will have minimal impact on testing schedule, and in some cases may even result in customers receiving results slightly faster than usual.  We will however be advising customers, where possible, to get their samples to us the day before their required test is due to be run as some testing will start early in the morning before that day’s post has arrived.  Where this is not possible, we advise customers get in touch with our admin team beforehand so we can try to ensure their sample can still be placed on that day’s test.

 

Avian PCR

 

Samples for avian sexing or disease testing by PCR are required the day before prep day (i.e. by Friday to go on Mon prep and by Tue to go on Wed prep), there may be occasions when we can add the odd sample on here and there if necessary that come in on test day but this will not always be possible.

Shirley and Alan Firth

Number of pets blood tested for immunity to rabies sky rockets as UK prepares for no-deal Brexit

Number of pets blood tested for immunity to rabies sky rockets as UK prepares for no-deal Brexit

RECORD numbers of owners are having their pets blood tested for immunity to rabies so they can travel to the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Biobest, the UK’s biggest tester of rabies antibody at their laboratories at The Edinburgh Technopole, near Penicuik in Scotland, has handled a surge in demand for tests over the last two years.

During 2019 and 2020, Biobest has tested samples from 59,706 cats and dogs that have undergone rabies vaccinations – more than double the total of 24,608 they tested in the whole of the previous two years.

The increase has been attributed to more owners preparing for a ‘hard’ Brexit and the uncertainty of what will happen if the UK leaves Europe without a deal, and rules Europe could impose on UK pets travelling abroad.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, where the UK is an unlisted third country, pet owners would need to prove animals are effectively vaccinated against rabies before they could travel with their pet to EU countries. This would require a blood titre test to demonstrate sufficient levels of rabies antibody, which would need to be carried out a minimum of 30 days after any initial rabies vaccination.

Biobest saw a spike in the number of tests being carried out in early 2019 after the Government lost three votes on the Brexit deal in Parliament, shortly after Defra issued advice on pet travel in November 2018. In March 2019, they tested 6,249 samples – the highest number in a month and nearly six times higher than March 2018.

Biobest director Paul Burr said: “The surge in numbers started after Defra issued advice on the Pet Travel Scheme in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Pet owners have been preparing for two years in case of a no-deal as it is unclear what rules Europe will impose on the UK. We have to assume that the UK will be a third country so a blood test after the vaccination will be required.

“When the UK Leaves the EU, our results will still be valid for pet travel as Biobest will become an EU-recognised laboratory that is outside the EU. Our test results are valid now and will be valid in the future after Brexit.”

Indie, an eight-year-old chocolate Labrador owned by retired couple Shirley and Alan Firth, from Tranent in East Lothian, is among the dogs to have had a rabies vaccination and blood test.

Mr and Mrs Firth plan to take their much-loved family pet with them on holiday to their son’s mobile home in Port Grimaud, southern France, while they are also considering a permanent move to France as they are looking to buy property in La Rochelle.

Indie was taken to Dunedin Vets in Tranent for a rabies vaccination and the sample was subsequently sent to Biobest for testing. He is now protected against rabies for three years and has a pet passport, ready for his travels.

Mrs Firth, a retired project worker for a children’s charity, and her husband, a retired electrical engineering manager, can now plan their future.

Mrs Firth said: “Deciding if we are going to have a holiday home in La Rochelle or if we will make it a permanent home is a long process, but we thought before we made any decisions we would have Indie vaccinated.

“We’ve never taken him to Port Grimaud as it is so hot, but the climate in Brittany will suit him as it is cooler, and he loves travelling in the car. Moving residence after December 31st will be more complicated, but having Indie vaccinated is one less thing to worry about.”

Indie’s vet, Margot Hunter, a clinical director at Dunedin Vets, said the practice has seen an increase in the number of owners having their dogs vaccinated across their four surgeries.

Mrs Hunter said: “We have seen an increase in rabies vaccines in the last few months. Many have been Eastern European folks returning home with their pets and these have not required antibody testing.

“Certainly, for anyone who has been planning to travel next year, we have been advising they have the blood test, so they are ready to travel, even if passports are no longer required and health certificates are, after December 31st.”

Rabies Antibody Testing at Biobest

Visit our rabies page for more information on the testing

Avoid Customs Delays When Sending Samples From Overseas

We have recently experienced an upsurge in the number of overseas samples sent to us that have been held up at customs due to courier service paperwork not being filled out correctly.   Not filling in courier service paperwork correctly can result in unnecessary extra work for administrative team, additional charges for customers and an increased likelihood of sample quality deterioration.

The majority of recent cases of samples being held up at customs and border control have been sent using FedEx & TNT courier services.  We therefore ask all customers using this courier service to be particularly careful when filling in their paperwork.  The below advise does however apply to ALL samples coming from overseas.

 

What to do

When filling out courier service paperwork, all the following information must be made clear on the courier service paperwork:

  • Sample type – Serum/Blood
  • Species – Canine/Feline
  • Purpose – Diagnostic testing and destruction within 30 days
  • Sample value – $1
  • Non-hazardous

Example package contents wording – “Canine serum sample for diagnostic test and destruction within 30 days, value $1, non-hazardous”

 

Packaging samples

Packaging is also important in an aim to avoid packages being delayed at customs, please see our packaging guidance below:

  • Ensure the sample is sealed and wrapped in tissue or cotton
  • Put the sample in a small clean Tupperware tub or rigid container
  • Put the tub in a padded envelope with your submission form and payment information
  • Put the padded envelope inside the courier packaging
  • Attach the 2 Biobest import licences to the outside of the courier package with the waybill

By providing all this information clearly, you drastically decrease the chances of your sample being delayed at customs.  If you are unclear about these guidelines, you can contact our admin team by email at enquiry@biobest.co.uk.