L’Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise “Giuseppe Caporale” (IZS) is a public health body that deals with veterinary public health. In addition to the headquarters in Teramo, IZS consists of five other territorial diagnostic sections in Avezzano (L’Aquila, Abruzzo), Pescara (Abruzzo), Lanciano (Chieti, Abruzzo), Campobasso (Molise) and Isernia (Molise). In all offices, institutional services are offered relating to the diagnostics of animal diseases and zoonoses for zootechnical interest, wild animals and pets. Recovery plans and control of infectious diseases (e.g. brucellosis, bovine leukosis, equine infectious anemia) and acceptance of samples taken and submitted by official veterinary bodies. Specific activities are carried out in the country residence in Colleatterrato Alto (Teramo) – headquarters of the International Center for Veterinary Training and Information “Francesco Gramenzi” – and in the Termoli office in the Research Center for Marine Ecosystems and Fishing.
The IZS employs about 600 people including veterinarians, chemists, biologists, engineers, computer scientists and many other professionals able to offer the international market services with a high content of knowledge and innovation for the protection of animal and human health.
Since 1991, the IZS is National Reference Center for the study and assessment of exotic animal diseases and started activities of international cooperation, in particular in the Mediterranean basin and in sub-Saharan Africa. This commitment has allowed IZS to build an important know-how in the field of research, risk analysis, epidemiology, food safety, health and animal welfare, training, organization, implementation and management of animal registry databases. IZS carries out scientific cooperation activities through participation in EU, FAO and OIE programs. In addition, the IZS Operations Center for Epidemiology, Programming and Information has been recognized as the National Reference Center for Veterinary Epidemiology, Programming, Information and Risk Analysis. In 2017 the Ministry of Health activated at the IZS HQ the National Reference Center for genomic sequences of pathogenic microorganisms: database and bioinformatics analysis.
With the spread of the Covid-19, the IZS was at the forefront to fight the pandemic thanks to its experience in swab analysis and sequencing. Soon after a few weeks, in April 2020, just over a month after the first case in Italy, the threshold of 1,200 daily exams was crossed. The efforts made on the pandemic fight, allowed the IZS experts to identify for the first time in Italy the “English” variant on 26 of December 2020 that brought IZS to international prominence thanks to an article in The Washington Post. In the whole of 2021, the Institute analyzed 631 thousand swabs.