Researchers are looking to develop tests to detect emerging strains of avian influenza that are classified as mild but have the potential to become more dangerous, to help assess and mitigate likely risks to wild birds and poultry.
Their study will focus on several types of avian influenza viruses that are currently not classified alongside serious strains known to be a threat, but which are linked to recent outbreaks of infections with severe symptoms, death rates. high and pose a risk to public health. .
The results of the three-year EUR 1.2 million project could help identify the risks associated with emerging strains, so that those with high disease potential can be managed appropriately.
They could also contribute to global monitoring measures for influenza, which is a major challenge for the poultry industry.
Understanding the risk
The international team behind the project will seek to determine the biological factors that allow certain low-risk strains of influenza to become more harmful.
The researchers will manipulate the RNA of influenza strains in the laboratory, to try to identify the genetic code linked to a risk of serious disease.
The team may be able to compare the impact of strains of flu that are generally low risk with those that have evolved to be more harmful.
They will also study how these viruses interact with poultry and wild birds, in order to better assess the potential risks of viruses passing between the two groups.
Experiments will test the impact of the strains on various tissues, in order to detect signs of a serious disease that could occur in domestic or wild birds.
The project, known as FluNuance, is funded by the International Infectious Animal Disease Research Coordination (ICRAD). It will be carried out in collaboration with Royal GD Animal Health in the Netherlands, the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover, Germany, the National Veterinary Research Institute of Poland and the Directorate of Veterinary Diagnostics of the National Safety Office. of the food chain in Hungary.
The Roslin Institute receives strategic investment funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and is part of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh.