Linking Epidemiology and Laboratory Research on Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses in EU and China
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LinkTADs WP4 2nd Workshop on Vaccine and Diagnostic Technology Development on Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses

2nd WP4 Workshop was organized on October 17th, 2014 in Shanghai.

Extracts from the closing speech of LinkTADs Project Coordinator, Mr. Daniel Beltran-Alcrudo are presented below:

At this workshop, we had a very balanced combination of presentations on top research conducted in both regions (EU and China).

Dr. Hua-Ji Qiu from HVRI made the opening address, introducing the LinkTADs project and the objectives of the workshop, and extended thanks to the efforts of partners to make the workshop happen.

Session on control of zoonoses chaired by Dr. Zhiyong Ma from SHVRI

- Dr. Alessio Lorusso gave an overview of the work done at IZSAM on a whole range of different vector-borne viruses, including bluetongue, as well as on work done on coronaviruses and novel viruses from bats. He stressed what we can learn from sequencing these viruses about their origin, their evolution, vaccine development, etc. as well as their fast identification and characterization.

- Dr. Jose Maria Blasco from CITA presented an overview of the challenges of brucella diagnosis and how to deal with the huge number of available diagnostic tools and how to choose a best laboratory diagnostic strategy for each scenario. Also, the vaccination challenges and strategies were discussed, including the performance of different vaccines and how the traditional vaccines S19 and Rev1 is still the best vaccine in the market despite efforts to develop new ones.

- Dr. Ling Zhao from HZAU presented on the challenges of rabies control in China, which is a re-emerging problem, particularly in rural areas, where vaccination is more challenging. He presented the work done to generate new, more effective vaccines, e.g. subunit vaccines, but specifically the promising results developing a recombinant reverse genetic vaccine.

Session on linking laboratory research with epidemiology chaired by Dr. Fusheng Guo from FAO China

On behalf of FAO China, Dr. Fusheng Guo pointed out that the strength of the project is to link the epidemiology and laboratory work, which is the core of the project’s objectives.

- Dr. Ningning Song from HVRI presented on overview on bovine tuberculosis and the current epidemiological surveys

- Dr. Julien Cappelle from CIRAD explored how ecological and epidemiological methods for investigations on animal diseases can be integrated. Specifically, he used two examples on how the combined use of epidemiology, ecology and virology tools aided to better understand the role played by wild birds in the maintenance and spread of H5N1 HPAI in China and of Newcastle disease in Africa.

- Dr. Ana Mateus from RVC reviewed a number of examples of the use of integrated strategies, e.g. foot and mouth disease (FMD) in South America, evaluation of interventions in live bird markets in Viet Nam, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United Kingdom.

Session on control of swine diseases chaired by Dr. Lihong Liu from SVA

- Dr. Linda Dixon from TPI presented the peculiarities that make so challenging to develop a vaccine against African swine fever virus (ASFV), e.g. its structure, replication, pathogenic systems and evasion systems. There are ongoing efforts to produce an effective and safe vaccine through the two main approaches, live attenuated vaccines and subunit vaccines, but still some years before a successful one is developed and available in the market.

- Dr. José Manuel Sanchez-Vizcaino from UCM presented the challenges that China may face regarding each step in the prevention, detection and response process to an eventual African swine fever (ASF) outbreak, and the need to be alert and prepared. He stressed the need to communicate between laboratory diagnosticians and field veterinarians.

- Dr. Hua-Ji Qiu from HVRI reported on the enhanced pathogenicity of a new pseudorabies virus emerging in China. Current Bartha-K61 vaccine could not protect against the new virus, and a gene-deleted vaccine was developed in HVRI with promising results.

Session on diagnostic assays for animal diseases chaired by Dr. Julien Cappelle from CIRAD

- Dr. Jiajun Wu from CADC presented an overview of the different PRRS diagnostic technologies available and the best uses for each of them.

- Dr. Widén Frederik from SVA covered the very important issue of field diagnostics, a tool that could be really useful for the early reaction to outbreaks. Through a number of examples of field diagnostics, the presentation covered all the uses, conditions of use, applications and the advantages they offer compared with traditional laboratory diagnostics, and how to integrate their use in a diagnostic/surveillance strategy.

- Dr. Tongling Shan from SHVRI introduced the use of viral metagenomics in the discovery of unknown viruses in humans, wildlife and livestock, but focusing on the identification of diarrhea of unknown cause in pigs in China.

- Dr. Daniel Beltran-Alcrudo from FAO presented on two laboratory tools developed by the FAO laboratory group, which are now publicly available for research institutions and laboratories to use: 1) the laboratory mapping tool (LMT), which aims to aid in laboratory assessment (both current status and evolution over time) and determine strengths and gaps in laboratory functionality and 2) the genetic module, which aids molecular epidemiology by linking outbreak databases with sequence databases.

Speech by the LinkTADs Advisory Board member chaired by Dr. Hua-Ji Qiu from HVRI

On behalf of FAO China, Dr. Fusheng Guo pointed out that the strength of the project is to link the epidemiology and laboratory work, which is the core of the project’s objectives. Dr. Chaoyang Fu from Harbin Weike Biotechnology Development Company, China, an industry member of the Advisory Board of LinkTADs, ended the session introducing the main animal health challenges in China and the need to develop rapid and effective diagnosis as well as multivalent, efficient marker vaccines to aid with prevention and control of animal infectious diseases. He called for the involvement and collaborations of European and Chinese scientists and explained how Weike is working to achieve those goals.

Conclusions of the Workshop

The effective control of transboundary animal diseases and zoonoses depends largely on the joint efforts of stakeholders, including policy makers, scientists, diagnostic technicians, veterinarians, farmers, and so on. Laboratory study should be linked closely to the field epidemiology. All-round collaborations and coordinated actions between EU and China are strongly encouraged. The following WP3 and WP4 workshops are suggested to focus on the control of emerging/reemerging animal diseases and the eradication of several economically important animal diseases. Different parties, including policy makers and industry representatives, should be involved in the coming LinkTADs events.