Progress 02/01/11 to 01/31/13
OUTPUTS: Summary of significance of AICAP based on the comments by the Scientific Advisory Committee: From the start of the AICAP program to the (near) end of it, the scientific quality of the AICAP investigators and projects has been extremely high. The AICAP program has brought together top scientists from the veterinary science field to work together. AICAP filled the gap in translational research that exists between high-end fundamental research and field applications. This has resulted in new generations of diagnostics tests brought from the fundamental drawing board into formats that are ready for head-to-head comparison in diagnostic laboratories. Such final evaluations are warranted and should be supported for e.g. the microsphere immuno-assay as a serological test and the branched-DNA microbeads for virus diagnostics that may both prove to be superior to - or have added value to - current diagnostic techniques. Likewise, several new generation vaccine candidates and technologies, most notably adenovirus and NDV vectors and live-attenuated vaccines, have been developed within AICAP that show great promise. Research on these vaccine candidates has progressed to the point of field-testing, and although vaccination is not the method of choice for AI prevention in the USA at present, such tests should be pursued in the light of international and future developments. The surveillance components of the AICAP program have been among the best in the world. AICAP has funded several short-term and a few longer-term projects. The projects that were funded throughout AICAP filled gaps in the US surveillance activities in long-term, hypothesis-driven, research. Although the direct applications of surveillance activities can not be measured within short-term projects like AICAP, the SAC recognizes that continuation of integrated surveillance projects to increase our understanding of the ecology of AI are very important for the more distant future. PARTICIPANTS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. TARGET AUDIENCES: AICAP has spent ~10% of its budget on educational activities. Despite the relatively small financial input, these activities have had tremendous output. The classroom teaching projects, hands-on training activities, and on-line resources that have been developed were turned into largely self-sustainable projects by the experts of AICAP. The experiences and methods used should be shared with the larger community as they are exemplary for successful education and outreach programs. Although these projects are now self-sustainable, it is important to keep the educational programs up-to-date and to publish their models, protocols and results. Moreover, the SAC recommends full use of the AICAP expertise to build upon when similar activities are needed for these and other projects in the future. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.
Impact to stakeholders: The AICAP provided excellent value to the industry and accomplished three major goals that have the potential to significantly protect and benefit the US poultry industry. 1. While the US has a robust diagnostic capacity, we would benefit from improved speed and accuracy (both sensitivity and specificity), especially in subtype determination. Time is of the essence in an outbreak situation; we need the correct answer in real time. The AICAP researchers have developed several new diagnostic platforms that have great potential to deliver highly accurate diagnoses, including subtype determination, extremely rapidly. 2. While the US would initially prefer to handle a highly pathogenic AI incursion by a rapid stamping out program (hence the importance of fast, accurate diagnosis), recent international events (such as the foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK) may cause us to reconsider this stance, especially should we fail to contain an outbreak in the initial stages. Should vaccination become necessary, better vaccines than the current killed virus vaccines would be desirable. In addition, the continued presence of the H5N1 situation around the world remains a threat to the domestic industry, and resolution of that problem with better vaccines not only would help feed people in developing economies and reduce the threat of a human pandemic, but also reduce the threat to the domestic industry. AICAP research has resulted in the development of several promising AI vaccine platforms with multiple advantages over current vaccines. 3. The educational component of AICAP was in some ways a pleasant surprise. Several highly effective, high-impact educational programs resulted from AICAP funding. One already appears to be sustainable beyond AICAP, and several others have good potential to continue to provide benefits long past AICAP, and all for a relatively modest investment. These programs could help prevent an incursion of AI into the commercial industry, increase the likelihood of earlier detection in the event of an incursion, and aid in a rapid response, potentially aiding in early containment and resolution. A remaining task that needs to occur after AICAP is to bring the advancements in diagnostics and vaccines to market so that they become available to the industry worldwide.
- No publications reported this period