Maladies Animales
30/04/2021 2 min

ANSES, EnvA and INRAE renew two joint research units for animal diseases

ANSES, EnvA and INRAE have renewed their agreement on two joint research units (UMRs): the BIPAR unit (molecular biology and parasitic immunology) and the Virology unit. Both units work on animal diseases and the risk of transmission to humans: the first on parasitic diseases and diseases transmitted by arthropod vectors, the second on viral diseases. 

The two units bring together staff from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), the Alfort National Veterinary School (EnvA) and the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE). They are housed at the ANSES Laboratory for Animal Health in Maisons-Alfort. Following an assessment by the French High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES) in 2018 and the positive opinions of the scientific boards of the supervisory authorities, the agreements have been renewed for both units. The unit teams, made up of over 90 technicians, scientific engineers, PhD and post-doctoral researchers, will thus be able to continue a collaboration that began some twenty years ago.

The BIPAR unit

Set up in 1999, the BIPAR unit studies the interactions between hosts and pathogens, modelled on vectors (ticks, mosquitoes) and the pathogens they transmit (bacteria, parasites and viruses), and also parasites of animal origin transmitted through food. Through fundamental and applied research, the unit seeks to develop a clearer understanding of these interactions, taking account of molecular, cellular and tissue aspects, as well as hosts and ecosystems, including the microbiota of vertebrate and invertebrate hosts. Research also focuses on the circulation of these pathogens, innovative control strategies for ticks, arthropod-borne pathogens and food-borne zoonotic parasites: improved detection and surveillance, “universal” vaccine strategies, “ecological” alternatives to antiparasitic and acaricide treatments, and other topics. This UMR hosts the International Collaborating Centre of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the national reference laboratory for food-borne zoonotic parasites. Between 2016 and 2020, the unit published 257 scientific papers. 

The Virology unit      

Set up in 2002, the Virology unit studies animal viral diseases representing a risk of transmission to humans and/or an emerging risk. The unit develops optimised diagnostic methods for epidemiological surveillance and studies the variability of viral strains, as well as conducting research on the pathophysiology of animal infections, some of which focuses on the risks of transmission between species, particularly from animals to humans. The unit also studies new approaches to the control and prevention of viral infections. It also conducts research on coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, particularly in pets. At the same time, it hosts European and international reference laboratories on foot-and-mouth disease (reference laboratory for the European Union, the OIE and the FAO), haemorrhagic disease (reference laboratory for the OIE) and equine diseases (reference laboratory for the European Union). It also holds many national reference laboratory mandates (bluetongue, West Nile, African horse sickness, and other viruses). Between 2016 and 2020, the unit published 177 papers in international peer-reviewed journals.