The projects resulting from ERA-NET calls are European collaborative studies, co-funded by national research funding agencies, such as the National Research Agency (ANR) in France, and the European Commission. They aim to coordinate national research and development programmes, in particular with a view to issuing international calls for projects.
The purpose of the first ERA-NET ICRAD (International Coordination of Research on Infectious Animal Diseases) call for projects is to fund multidisciplinary research projects on the main animal epidemics, such as African swine fever or influenza. Projects are required to involve at least three organisations from three different countries involved in the call for projects. The 19 selected projects were announced in late November; four of them are being coordinated by ANSES:
- the PIGIE project (Understanding the dynamics and evolution of swine influenza viruses in Europe: relevance for improved intervention and sustainable pig production) will study recurrent influenza infections in pig herds. The aim is to determine the factors promoting this recurrence and suggest measures to curb it;
- the FMDV_PersIstOmics project (From proteogenomic host response signatures of persistent foot-and-mouth disease virus infection to diagnostic markers and therapeutic control) will examine persistent FMD virus infections in ruminants. Its goal is to determine the molecular mechanisms involved in establishing and sustaining the virus, in order to improve the diagnosis of asymptomatic carrier animals and develop therapeutic tools;
- the MUSECoV project (Multi-scale eco-evolution of coronaviruses: from surveillance toward emergence prediction) will seek to improve understanding of the diversity of coronavirus strains circulating in animal populations, including SARS-CoV2, responsible for COVID-19. The aim is to better understand the dynamics of coronavirus infections in various animal populations and therefore to rapidly detect the emergence of particularly pathogenic variants;
- the ASFVInt project (Decoding a virus Achilles heel: the African swine fever virus interactome) focuses on African swine fever. It aims to improve understanding of the molecular interactions between the virus and pigs, with the aim of developing new antiviral solutions or vaccines;
ANSES is also involved in a fifth project, coordinated by the Pirbright Institute in the United Kingdom: NEOVACC (Novel strategies to enhance vaccine immunity in neonatal livestock), which aims to develop vaccination strategies tailored to newborn calves and piglets. This is because vaccination of young animals is complicated by the presence of antibodies inherited from the mother.
Several ANSES laboratories involved in these projects
The projects involve several ANSES laboratories: the Laboratory for Animal Health is coordinating the FMDV_PersIstOmics and MUSECoV projects, and participating in the ASFVInt project. The Ploufragan-Plouzané-Niort Laboratory is leading the PIGIE and ASFVInt projects, and is involved in the NEOVACC and MUSECoV projects. The Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife is also taking part in this last project.