WP1. Coordination and dissemination
Objectives: Coordinate consortium activities and disseminate project outputs.
This WP will take care of the overall management of the project including communication with the ANIHWA office and EU-Commission, helped by a Steering Committee. This WP will also focus on capacity-building in areas endemic for CCHFV and WNV, and transfer of knowledge and technology. In the context of this consortium, we will establish links with national and international organizations, institutions and laboratories located in endemic areas to disseminate and transfer technologies needed for an integrated control and management strategy. An e-learning training course will be developed and launched on the web, open to researchers, veterinarians, medical doctors and other national authorities from countries of interest.
WP2. Epidemiological modelling of virus transmission in Europe
i) Develop mathematical models of WNV, RVFV and CCHFV incursion and transmission
ii) Formulate and evaluate possible risk-based surveillance approaches for Europe,
iii) Assess intervention strategies to inform outbreak control
Models for prediction and spread of arboviral diseases such as WNV, RVF and CCHF in Europe will be developed on the basis of existing knowledge of the geographical distribution and ecology of potential vectors, their affinity to susceptible host populations, their interaction with the relevant pathogens and existing models for the spread of vector-borne animal diseases and zoonoses. Virus transmission parameters (vector competence, viraemia duration and load in hosts, virus shedding) estimated in WP3-5 will be used to refine the existing models of spread. The models developed by WP 2 will be used for the risk assessments and to formulate possible risk-based surveillance approaches for Europe. Partner 2 will prepare a literature review on existing models for WNV, RVF and CCHF. Partners 2, 5 and 8 will evaluate the existing models and adapt them to the ecological and climatic conditions found in Europe, taking into account the expertise of partners 3 and 4 on the vectors, their ecology and the pathogen/vector interaction as well as the knowledge of partners 1, 6 and 7 on CCHFV, RVFV and WNV and the interaction of these viruses with their mammalian hosts. The application of these models to other arthropod-borne viruses that threaten livestock will be assessed.
WP3. Biobank, diagnostics development and genomic characterization
i) Create a Biobank of geographically pinpointed virus isolates from vectors, animals and humans to support identification of geographical genomic clusters
ii) Develop serological assays to promotion of surveillance in animals in endemic and neighboring areas
We will collect and analyse samples from mosquitoes, ticks, vertebrates and human patients for the presence of viral RNA of CCHFV, RVFV and WNV in Europe and Israel (Partners 1, 5, 6 and 7). We will create a Biobank including data on isolates from different geographical areas, which will support phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies for identification of main genomic clusters (Partners 1 and 7). Collected data and samples available for WNV at Partner 6 will be used as a starting point for WNV identification. Serological tests developed by Partner 6 will be important not only for epidemiological studies but also for animal trade.
WP4. Interaction with vertebrate hosts
Objective: Appraise main drivers of CCHFV, RVFV and WNV infections in mammalian and avian hosts.
This WP will study and rate major infection mechanisms in vertebrates. Little is known at present about tissue location of the infection, viral shedding routes and clearance mechanisms for CCHFV, RVFV and/or WNV in animals. Study topics will include viraemia load and duration, routes of virus shedding (important for public health/human exposure). These studies will be performed by partners 1, 2 and 5 by taking advantage of other infection studies already planned outside this proposal. We will also perform tenacity/inactivation studies, to understand virus survival in biological samples and animal products (Partners 1, 2, 5 and 6).
WP5. Interaction with vectors
Objective: appraisal of main drivers of CCHFV, RVFV and WNV infections in arthropods
This WP will use published and new research on novel aspects of arthropod infections with these viruses. We will establish general platforms (data, protocols, methods and work streams) for in vitro and in vivo studies on the up- and down-regulation of genes in response to viruses in tick and mosquito cell lines in order to understand the cell biology of the infection. Partner 3 will characterize the tick vector cell response to viral infection using CL2 arboviruses as model systems. Partner 4 will characterize the mosquito and tick cell response to WNV infection compared to vertebrate cell responses (partner 5).
Interatomic studies will be carried out in collaboration with Partner 1 on tick and mosquito cells infected with arboviruses, focusing on CCHFV, WNV and RVFV. Partner 4 will establish an arthropod-feeding platform.