The European Union Partnership for Animal Health and Welfare (EUP AH&W) brings together 56 research organizations across the European Union with the aim of working towards sustainable food production from animals, on land and in water. The overarching goals are that infectious animal diseases should be prevented and controlled, antimicrobial agents should be used more cautiously, and that animal protection should cover the entire life of animals. Europe must achieve fairer, healthier and more environmentally friendly food production.
– Our work is in harmony with European green principles and its “farm to table” strategy. What is exciting is the breadth of work, as we will be looking at animal health and welfare in relation to human health and the environment, the One Health strategy for sustainable animal production, across much of Europe. This partnership has been going on for ten years, and what we have now is the activities of the first three years. There is probably more we need to do in the future, says Professor Dolores Javier-Widen of the SVA, who coordinates the SVA’s activities.
Research is conducted based on specific goals and activities in order to achieve the goal. The activities are grouped into activity blocks (Activities Collection, SOA) and the fact that researchers from the SVA participate in eleven blocks shows the breadth of researchers available in the SVA. The partnership runs from 2024 to 2034, and the activities now planned cover three years, from 2024 to 2026. For the future, Formas is running new research projects more closely related to the partnership as new calls for proposals will be opened in the future.
In Activity Block 8, among others, analysis methods such as sequencing should be reviewed to arrive at common routines.
SOA 8: Monitoring Important Veterinary Pathogens and Their Antimicrobial Resistance Characteristics
A large part of this mass of activity is an inventory of how sequencing can be used to monitor resistance among various pathogens (pathogens), especially bacteria and antibiotic resistance, but also parasites. Large amounts of information will be collected to be able to answer questions related to resistance and also, for example, infection prevalence and virulence factors. In the first phase, analysis programs and quality criteria will be evaluated. At a later stage, bacteria from different food-producing animals will be examined and results evaluated.
Sequence determination of pathogens is an exciting research area. I look forward to developing pathogen sequencing work and routines in a European context where there are many of us who can learn from each other. Today, not all results from laboratories are comparable because analyzes are performed and interpreted in different ways. The aim of this research is for countries in Europe and across Europe to, with certainty, be able to compare numbers and outcomes in the future, says Oskar Nilsson, an expert in antibiotics and resistance at the SVA.
In activity block 11, researchers will see how the genetics of infectious agents interact with other factors.
SOA 11: Knowledge of priority infectious agents, infectious diseases and their detection methods
Researchers from several European countries will work together to find out which factors cause priority pathogens in causing serious illnesses among food-producing animals. The genetics of infectious agents should be examined to see how genetics interact with animal husbandry, environmental factors, and co-infection. Among other things, it should be checked whether animals become sicker if they contract several infections at the same time that are not individually dangerous. Another interesting aspect is whether the disease only occurs when stress is combined with a certain type of infectious agent.
– The fact that we are conducting research in several countries together creates an extensive data base, and this means that we can analyze and draw conclusions in a completely different way than just Swedish data. I also believe that investing in a holistic view, rather than studying one factor at a time, will contribute to results that will be useful in animal husbandry and food production in the future, says Robert Soderlund, an expert in sequencing technologies and bioinformatics at SVA.
Activity Block 6 is about surveying existing wildlife disease surveillance systems and how they can be improved.
SOA 6: European Wildlife Mammal and Bird Network
Existing systems and programs for monitoring wild animal health and developmental needs should be mapped. An inventory and harmonization of how game diseases are monitored between different countries and European laboratories must be harmonized. It applies the gamut from fields and forests to laboratories and reporting, to the use of results, to methods for mapping and determining wild animal populations. Research into how human activities affect the health of wild animals is also included.
– It is a unique opportunity for collaboration across Europe in wildlife disease surveillance. It’s an area that has been underfunded for a long time, but now we can make a difference. The results will contribute to better management of wild animals in the wild, improved health and early detection of infection in wild animals. “Then we can prevent people and pets from getting infections that can be transmitted from wild animals,” says Dolores Gavier-Widen.
SVA is partnering with 36 experts
SVA’s activities fall under Work Package 3 (WP3) titled Joint Initiatives and Integration. As the program includes both wild animals and farm animals; In the air, on land and at sea, 36 researchers from different fields are participating.
Alexia Nyman, Anna Espan, Anna Werner, Annette Backhans, Ariana Komen, Beth Young, Beau Sigerman, Cecilia Holten, Charlotte Axen, David Pearson, Dolores Javier-Widen, Emily Peterson, Emma Ostlund, Erika Chenis, Estel Agren, Eva Watrang, Fereshteh Benihachem, Frida Lance, Gemma Vidal, Helena Erickson, Hye Young Kim, Ivana Rodriguez Eorloff, Jenny Frosling, Linda Ernholm, Malin Grant, Maria Normark, Marie Sjollund, Marit Pringle, Matthias Mirenas, Mikhail Hackverdian, Oscar Nilsson, Stefan Widgren, Thomas. Rosendahl, Viktor Ahlberg, Viktor Gustafsson, and Cha Wonhee.
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