Co-fund on "One Health" (zoonoses – emerging threats)
Infectious diseases transmitted naturally from animals to humans (zoonoses), constitute major public health risks. In recent years, zoonoses have given rise to a number of human disease problems and anti-microbial resistance is also recognised as a global health threat. Especially when food-borne, zoonoses have significant social and financial impacts in Europe and need to be addressed by all those actors in the farm-to-fork food chain. Coherence in research is needed to better understand processes triggering and propagating zoonoses, their routing in the animal–human-environment triangle and their impact on public health. The means to control these diseases can be improved with a "one health" (i.e. holistic and transdisciplinary) approach involving synergies in various areas of research: human health, animal health food safety and environmental health. Action is needed at European level to identify and characterize risks in the field of food and feed safety, by developing capacity to collect and analyse information, and supporting research on state-of-the-art reference and surveillance tools, taking into account the harmonisation of existing and new diagnostic tests. Action needs to be undertaken in due time to identify the etiological agent. National research programmes in the area need to be further integrated and aligned and related policy activities, including forecasting activities for emerging threats, need further support. This will also add value and should be done in coordination with related European initiatives, bodies and projects and take into account relevant international bodies. There is also a need for research-based recommendations to prevent and control such (especially food-borne) zoonoses, to disseminate these recommendations effectively, to the various stakeholders (e.g. policy-makers, industry, citizens), and measure their impact on human and animal health.
The overall objective is to create a European joint programme to deal with zoonoses with an emphasis on zoonotic food-borne microbial infection and intoxication, including natural toxins and the risks associated with domesticated and wild animal reservoirs and their exposure routes towards human infection, including possible illegal imports of animal products, in order to improve preparedness against future 'one health' risks. Related emerging threats such as antimicrobial resistance will be addressed. The aim is to construct a sustainable framework for an integrated community of research groups including reference laboratories in the fields of life sciences, medicine, veterinary medicine, animal sciences and environmental sciences. This will lead to the joint programming and execution of research and other joint integrative activities such as information dissemination, education and training including knowledge management, access to strain collections, biobanks, experimental facilities and databases, including also harmonisation, standardisation, proficiency tests, training, short-term missions, workshops and summer schools. The work will cover all agents involved, including viruses, bacteria, parasites and nucleotide sequences/genetic material conferring antimicrobial resistance. State-of-the-art technologies taking into account genomics research and modern tools, including biotechnological and epidemiological advances, will be used, also taking into account the harmonisation of diagnostic tests. An appropriate governance structure should be established to ensure effective implementation of the joint programme. Participating legal entities must be nominated by Member States or associated countries and have research funding and/or management responsibilities in the field of zoonoses, in particular for microbiological safety along the food chain. Coherence will be sought between the research activities and public and animal health policies. The acquired knowledge should support informed decision-taking and policy-making in the domain The activities will need to be coordinated with related European research related projects (e.g. EFFORT, COMPARE), initiatives (e.g. JPI AMR, GloPID-R, International Research on animal health, see SFS-12-2016) and entities (e.g. EU reference laboratories, EFSA, ECDC) and take into account relevant international statutory bodies such as OIE, WHO and Codex Alimentarius.
Considering the budget available, the scope covered and the potential entities for this EJP, the Commission considers that an EU contribution to a maximum 50% of the total eligible costs of the action or up to 35 million EUR for the expected 5 year duration of the action would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Up to one project will be funded.
The project will lead to significant long term alignment of research strategies and activities at national and EU level, thus reducing unnecessary duplication of work on (especially food-borne) zoonoses. It will foster lasting transdisciplinary cooperation in the fields of life sciences, medicine, veterinary medicine, animal sciences and environmental sciences. It will advance understanding of the risks associated with zoonoses, their origin and pathways towards human infections. It will support risk management as regards zoonoses. It will facilitate knowledge dissemination, making beneficiaries aware of the risks and more responsible for their health.