Edinburgh Research Explorer

"Impulse Veterinary Avian Influenza Research in the Netherlands"

Project: Other ProjectProject from a former institution

Period1/01/0731/12/11

Plain English Description

The Avian Influenza research project is focused on prevention of a serious worldwide influenza outbreak among human beings. This can best be accomplished through the development of better ways of combating influenza infections in animals. This will prevent outbreaks of infections in animals from crossing over to humans. In this way the problem is tackled at the source. Considering the increasing worldwide threat to humans and animals from bird flu, this research is of great social and economic importance.

Combating epidemics with new vaccines is the highest priority. The project is focused on the various aspects of control. In the first place new vaccines will be developed. In this regard it is important that vaccinated animals can be clearly distinguished from sick (infected) animals on the basis of targeted diagnosis. Furthermore, it must be possible to quickly and easily administer the new vaccines, for instance through drinking water or a spray method. The project is not only focused on the development of new vaccines. To eliminate the bird flu virus, vaccination must be supported by regular monitoring in the field. In addition, account must be taken of the evolution of the virus in various hosts. Therefore epidemiological research into the spread of the virus using new diagnostic tests is also an important aspect of the project.

Kennisketen Infectieziekten Dier (Knowledge Chain for Infectious Diseases in Animals) has been allocated 15 million euros from the 2006 FES budget (Economic Structure Enhancing Fund). This money will be spent on research into Avian Influenza (bird flu). The first phase will primarily involve new strategies for combating Avian Influenza by using new veterinary vaccines. The second phase of the research will focus on preparing the vaccines for production in cooperation with the Dutch vaccine industry. Vaccination of animals is the method most likely to prevent a human influenza pandemic.

Kennisketen Infectieziekten Dier was established in February of this year. It is a joint venture undertaken by the Animal Sciences Group and the Lelystad Central Institute for Animal Disease Control (CIDC-Lelystad) of Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University and GD Deventer (organisation dealing with animal health and the safety of animal products). Through the bundling of researchers, facilities and expertise it is possible to take a large-scale approach to this type of research project, resulting in greater innovative power and more international visibility. Because bird flu also entails risks to public health, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) are also participating in the research.