Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Pathogenesis and improved diagnosis and control of avian influenza infections - SE0771

- Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAI) are exotic to the UK but periodically introductions cause severe infectious disease in domestic poultry with consequent high economic impact. The disease is therefore notifiable and subject tyo statutory control measures. The zoonotic potential of avian influnza viruses has been highlighted in recent years by the infection of humans with H5, H7 and H9 subtype viruses.

- This proposal supports the objectives set out in ROAME A by; developing expertise and techniques that will enable the rapid and accurate diagnosis of HPAI; developing novel genetic and immunological approaches to control the disease, thus enabling the Ministry to meet it's statuatory obligatopm to control and eradicate HPAI. The aims of the project are to understand the mechanisms and markers for the emergence of HPAI and to improve the diagnostic and surveillance capabilities of EU national avian influenza laboratories.

- This project is matched to a 5th framework project funded by the EU(project number QLRT-CT-01454 "Pathogenesis and improved diagnosis and control of avian influenza infections") which aims to develop validated rapis diagnostic tests (ELISA and RT/PCR)for the identification of infected flocks and surveillance of wild bird reservoirs in the EU.

- The application of well validated rapid tests will aid identification of infected but pre-clinical flocks within restriction zones, thus allowing the elimination of infected flocks without delay and provide general surveillance tools. The ELISA test will be simple enough for use in non-specialist laboratories and possibly at the flock side using cloacal swabs as the clinical specimens. There could be potential for this test to be commercialised. A number of protocols for RT/PCR of avian influenza virus will be evaluated for sensitivity, specificity and robustness. the best will b e validated and recommend for adoption throughout the EU National Al reference laboratories.

- The molecular basis of pathogenicity and the mechanisms involved in host susceptability and transmission will be studied using the powerful technology of reverse genetics. Reverse genetics will enable us to allocate the determinants for pathogenicity to teh individual functional domains of the virla proteins. Such markers will be highly relevant for the development of new diagnostic tests and for the surveillance of avian influenza.
01 06/2005c Develop a simple and rapid flock side test (ELISA) for the detection of current Al infection.
02 08/2005 Establish a validated RT/PCR protocol that is sensitive, robust and cost effective, for the detection of H5 or H7 viruses in organ homogenates and cloacal or tracheal swabs. Hopefully for future adoption in the EU directive for A1.
03 06/2004 Develop a reverse genetics system using A/ty/Eng/50-92/91 H5N1) as the gentic background.;
04 02/2006 Use A/ty/Eng/50-92/91 backgrounde reversegenetics system to study which combinations of the mutations identified in LDP3 virus influene virulence.
05 09/2005 Complete VA's agreed contributions to work-packages 2-6 as detailed in the EU 5th framework project QLRT-CT2001-01454 "Pathogenesis and improved diagnosis and control of avian influenza infections.
06 03/2005 Antigenic characterisation of H7 and H5 HPAI and LPAI viruses.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2006

Cost: £650,156
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Veterinary Laboratories Agency
Animal Diseases              
Animal Health              
Plants and Animals              
Vaccine Development              
Fields of Study
Animal Health