EuroBioTox successfully consolidated an expert network working on biotoxins by linking professionals from the disaster
management sector, first responders and industrial partners with expert laboratories in the security, health and food sectors. Progress beyond the state of the art was already
achieved by the production of five certified reference materials (CRMs). Since there are no other CRMs available worldwide for those toxins, the reagents will be highly useful for
expert laboratories and practitioners, having a great potential for further exploitation beyond the lifetime of EuroBioTox. The creation of a European repository with proprietary
toxin-specific tools was a prerequisite for the harmonisation of detection methods and helped to spread excellence among network partners. The EuroBioTox training programme
broadened technical expertise within the EU in the analysis of biotoxins relevant to investigations of alleged use. The implemented training courses for 156 trainees from 18
countries were beyond the state of the art in that they were tailored to the maximum benefit of the attendees. In that respect, the courses fostered multidisciplinary discussions
integrating expertise from different fields. The 11 proficiency tests organised by EuroBioTox offered an opportunity for participants to self-evaluate their technical
capabilities. This is important, since there are almost no other options for regular self-assessment for the detection of the biotoxins in the scope of EuroBioTox. With respect to
the specific needs of first responders, conceptual guidelines on sampling, detection and decontamination of biotoxins were established and presented at a first responder workshop
and a forensic database was released. With respect to animal replacement methods, a comprehensive evaluation study for five in vitro and ex vivo methods for BoNT detection against
the mouse bioassay was implemented. The successful outcome highlighted superior animal replacement methods for botulism diagnostics and will help to reduce animal experiments in
this field, directly supporting the Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals.
Overall, EuroBioTox aimed at implementing a comprehensive mechanism of training, method and key reagent sharing, improvement of quality assurance measures and proficiency testing.
The dissemination of good analytical practices helped to improve preparedness and response planning at national and international levels. Along this line, EuroBioTox has
contributed to minimising potential health and security threats in the EU and increased resilience of civil society by sound capacity building and technical improvement.