Biological Standards Commission

Founded in 1949, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE) Biological Standards Commission (BSC), composed of six elected members, is concerned with developing internationally agreed standards for laboratory diagnostic tests and vaccines for WOAH-listed animal diseases of mammals, birds and bees.

Founded in 1949, the WOAH Biological Standards Commission (BSC), composed of six elected members, is concerned with developing internationally agreed standards for laboratory diagnostic tests and vaccines for WOAH-listed animal diseases of mammals, birds and bees. To achieve this, its major activities are:

  • To establish or approve methods for diagnosing diseases of mammals, birds and bees and for manufacture and testing of biological products, such as vaccines; and to advise WOAH on the appropriate use of diagnostic tests and vaccines;

  • An important element in this is the development and supervision of the WOAH Register of Diagnostic Assays;

  • To oversee production of the Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals;

  • To select WOAH Reference Laboratories for diseases of mammals, birds and bees, and to communicate with these laboratories as a source of specialist expertise;

  • To promote the international standardisation of diagnostic tests, including the preparation and distribution of standard reagents.

Neither the WOAH nor the Commission distributes reagents directly, but provides contact points in the Reference Laboratories where such materials may be obtained.

Contact us

Terms of reference

Taking into account the periodic Strategic Plans adopted by the Assembly, pertinent Resolutions of the Assembly and the annual work plans approved by the Assembly, the terms of reference of the WOAH Biological Standards Commission shall be:

1. To propose methods for the diagnosis and prevention of diseases with respect to international trade or movement of terrestrial animals or their products, particularly diseases included in the WOAH Terrestrial Animal Health Code (the Terrestrial Code ).

2. To define standards for biological products, diagnostic preparations, vaccines and immune sera relating to terrestrial animals.

3. To assess and approve applications for the registration of commercial diagnostic kits.

4. To provide, upon request by the Assembly or the Director General standard technical procedures for other activities included in the Terrestrial Code.

5. To keep the Director General and the Assembly, informed of advances in scientific knowledge that could have implications for the diagnosis and prevention of terrestrial animal diseases and to make recommendations on amendments or additions to the Terrestrial Code, as appropriate.

6. To respond to questions relating to their field of competence from the Director General and the Assembly, and collaborate with the other WOAH Specialist Commissions and Working Groups.

7. To edit the WOAH Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals (the Manual) relating to terrestrial animals.

8. To develop concepts and tools for capacity building of the veterinary scientific community in particular in developing countries.

9. To examine applications from Member Countries relating to the creation of new WOAH Reference Centres with activities corresponding to the Commission’s scientific mandate and report its findings to the Director General.

10. To advise the Director General on the status of the lists of the WOAH experts and Reference Centres.

11. To facilitate, and work with, Reference Centres to achieve WOAH’s mandate.

12. To provide, on request of the Director General, technical advice on proposals for the twinning of Reference Centres under Cooperative Capacity Building (“Twinning”) Agreements.

13. To identify issues that require in-depth review and propose, to the  Director General, the composition and terms of reference of experts or Ad hoc Groups of experts convened specifically to study such issues, and if necessary, to participate in the work of these Groups.

14. To represent the WOAH at scientific and specialised conferences upon the request of the Director General.

Qualifications of the Members


The members of the Commission shall be internationally recognised specialists in the field of infectious terrestrial animal diseases diagnosis and/or prevention, particularly in laboratory methods and operations.


The members of the Commission shall have international experience, at the regional or global level, in the area of laboratory diagnosis and/or immunological prevention of infectious animal diseases.


The members of the Commission shall have specialised training in laboratory diagnosis of terrestrial animal disease.

  • Dr. Emmanuel Couacy-Hyman

    President, Biological Standards Commission; Professor of Virology


  • Dr. John Pasick

    Vice President, Biological Standards Commission


  • Prof. Ann Cullinane

    Vice President, Biological Standards Commission; Head of the Virology Unit


  • Dr. Satoko Kawaji

    Principal Scientist, Division of Infectious Animal Disease Research (Bacteria Group)


  • Dr. Joseph O’Keefe

    Head, Animal Health Laboratory, Ministry for Primary Industries


  • Dr. Chris Oura

    Professor of Veterinary Virology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies


September 2023A_BSC_sept2023.pdf (3256 Kb)
February 2023A_BSC_feb2023.pdf (1271 Kb)
September 2022A_BSC_sept2022.pdf (489 Kb)
February 2022A_BSC_feb2022_Part_A.pdf (377 Kb)
A_BSC_feb2022_Part_B.pdf (713 Kb)
September 2021A_BSC_sept2021.pdf (867 Kb)
February 2021A_BSC_feb2021_Part_A.pdf (491 Kb)
A_BSC_feb2021_Part_B.pdf (841 Kb)
September 2020A_BSC_sept2020.pdf (991 Kb)
February 2020A_BSC_feb2020.pdf (2060 Kb)
September 2019A_BSC_Sept2019.pdf (768 Kb)
February 2019A_BSC_feb2019.pdf (1126 Kb)
September 2018A_BSC_Sept2018.pdf (690 Kb)
February 2018A_BSC_feb2018.pdf (1589 Kb)
September 2017A_BSC_Sept2017.pdf (3040 Kb)
February 2017A_BSC_feb2017.pdf (2070 Kb)
September 2016A_BSC_Sept2016.pdf (711 Kb)
February 2016A_BSC_feb2016.pdf (1870 Kb)
September 2015A_BSC_Sept2015.pdf (246 Kb)
January 2015A_BSC_jan2015.pdf (1470 Kb)
September 2014A_BSC_Sept2014.pdf (1331 Kb)
February 2014A_BSC_feb2014.pdf (743 Kb)
September 2013A_BSC_Sept2013.pdf (1251 Kb)
February 2013A_BSC_feb2013.pdf (849 Kb)
September 2012A_BSC_Sept2012.pdf (488 Kb)
February 2012A_BSC_feb2012.pdf (245 Kb)
September 2011A_BSC_Sept2011.pdf (846 Kb)
February 2011A_BSC_feb2011.pdf (423 Kb)
September 2010A_BSC_Sept2010.pdf (529 Kb)
Janvier 2010A_BSC_jan2010.pdf (736 Kb)
September 2009A_BSC_Sept2009.pdf(512 Kb)
February 2009A_BSC_Feb2009.pdf (512 Kb)
September 2008A_BSC_sept2008.pdf (942 Kb)
January 2008A_BSC_Jan2008.pdf (619 Kb)
September 2007A_BSC_sept2007.pdf (726 Kb)
January 2007A_BSC_Jan2007.pdf (1444 Kb)
September 2006A_BSC_2006S.pdf (563 Kb)
January 2006A_BSC_Jan2006.pdf (1648 Kb)
September 2005A_BSC_Sept2005.pdf (303 Kb)
January 2005A_BSC_Jan2005.pdf (364 Kb)
September 2004A_BSC_Sept2004.pdf (232 Kb)
January 2004A_BSC_Jan2004.pdf (351 Kb)
September 2003A_BSC_Sept2003.pdf (516 Kb)
January 2003A_BSC_Jan2003.pdf (857 Kb)
September 2002A_BSC_Sept2002.pdf (275 Kb)
January 2002A_BSC_Jan2002.pdf (504 Kb)
September 2001A_BSC_Sept2001.pdf (962 Kb)
January 2001A_BSC_Jan2001.pdf (373 Kb)
November 2000A_BSC_Nov2000.pdf (484 Kb)
January 2000A_BSC_Jan2000.pdf (420 Kb)
September 1999A_BSC_Sept1999.pdf (283 Kb)

Terrestrial Code and Manual

Related links

  • Reference Laboratories ©OIE/C.Odinga

    Reference Laboratories

    The Reference Laboratories are designated to pursue all the scientific and technical problems relating to a named disease. The Expert, responsible to WOAH and its Member Countries with regard to the disease, should be a leading and active researcher helping the Reference Laboratory to provide scientific and technical assistance and expert advice on topics linked to diagnosis and control of the disease for which the Reference Laboratory is responsible. Reference Laboratories should also provide scientific and technical training for personnel from Member Countries, and coordinate scientific and technical studies in collaboration with other laboratories or organisations, including through the Laboratory Twinning programme.
  • WOAH Collaborating centres

    Collaborating Centres

    WOAH maintains a network of Collaborating Centres for the purposes of providing scientific expertise and support to the WOAH and its Members, and for promoting international collaboration on animal health and welfare. Collaborating Centres are designated for a specific specialty within a focus area relating to the management of general questions on animal health issues. In its designated specialty, they must provide their expertise internationally (see WOAH Terms of Reference and Internal Rules for Collaborating Centres).
  • ©World Organisation for Animal Health/H.Bader

    Animal Health and Welfare

    Like human health, animal health is complex and is faced with ever-evolving challenges. Thanks to the advances in technology, medicine and science, innovative solutions can be used to address animal diseases threats, whether they affect terrestrial animals, aquatic animals or wildlife. Animal health is a key component of animal welfare. Animal health professionals are the key actors in charge of optimising the physical and behavioural health and welfare of animals. They contribute to prevent, treat and control diseases which can affect an individual animal or even whole animal populations.
  • Determining disease status

    Official Disease Status

    Since 1998, the World Organisation for Animal Health has the mandate from the WTO to officially recognise disease-free areas of countries for trade purposes. The procedure for the official recognition of animal health status by WOAH is voluntary and applies currently to six diseases

Other Commissions and Working Groups

  • Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission

    The Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission (the Aquatic Animals Commission), created in 1960, is responsible for ensuring that the Aquatic Animal Health Code (the Aquatic Code) and Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals (the Aquatic Manual) reflect current scientific information.
  • Scientific Commission

    Founded in 1946 and composed of six members, the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases (Scientific Commission) assists in identifying the most appropriate strategies and measures for disease prevention and control. It is also responsible for examining voluntary requests from WOAH (founded as OIE) Members regarding their disease-specific animal health status.
  • Code Commission

    The Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission (the Code Commission), which was created in 1960, is responsible for ensuring that the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (the Terrestrial Code ) reflects current scientific information. The Terrestrial Code contains trade standards for terrestrial animals and their products.
  • Working Group on Wildlife

    Founded in 1994, this Working Group informs and advises the WOAH on all health problems relating to wild animals, whether in the wild or in captivity. It has prepared recommendations and oversees numerous scientific publications on the surveillance and control of the most important specific wildlife diseases. The Working Group comprises world-leading scientific experts in their subject areas.