12.1 Introduction

Standardization of the diagnostic methods for detecting and quantifying bee viruses and of the interpretation of the results is the first requirement for improved harmonization of the data collected by different laboratories. The protocols and assays for different animal diseases registered with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE; previously the Office International des Epizooties) ensure the global harmonization and standardization of detection methodologies. Moreover, the OIE provides criteria for the technical requirements and quality management in veterinary testing laboratories, in the form of a series of standards and recommendations that each laboratory should address in the design and maintenance of its quality management program. Valid laboratory results are essential for diagnosis, obtained by the use of good management practices, validated protocols and calibration methods as described in the ISO/IEC 17025 International Standard. By following these standards, a laboratory is able to obtain accreditation, linked to the international certification standard ISO 9001. OIE guidelines provide an interpretation of the ISO/IEC 17025 guidelines in the context of veterinary laboratories working with infectious diseases, including the validation of diagnostic assays, the production of international reference standards and laboratory competence testing. The European reference laboratory for honey bee diseases at ANSES in France is developing a set of standard diagnostic procedures for honey bee viruses, following these procedures and criteria.