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Virus Population in Southern Caucasus

#A-1450


The Development of Models of Space Distribution of Virus Population in New Social-Economical and Climatic-Ecological Conditions in Southern Caucasus

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment
  • AGR-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Agriculture

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
29.08.2006

Leading Institute
Scientific Center of Cattle Breeding and Veterinary Science, Armenia, Yerevan

Supporting institutes

  • Georgian Academy of Sciences / Institute of Zoology, Georgia, Tbilisi\nInstitute of Zoology, Armenia, Yerevan

Collaborators

  • Medical Entomology Program, USA, IL, Champaign\nInstitute of Zoology, Slovakia, Bratislava

Project summary

In the recent years, as a result of the increase of anthropogenic influence on the environment, global ecological changes have taken place – climatic rise in temperature (green house effect), soil erosion, deforestation, desertification etc. As a result of all these, the balance in the bioareals changes and new bioconnections appear. All this happens in difficult social-economical conditions in South Caucasus where the countries are in the process of transition from one political – economical system to another.

We face a rapid increase of viruses in the infection pathology of human beings and animals at present. Unknown viral infections such as African horse sickness, Rift valley fever, bluetongue, viruses of California group, Foot and Mouth disease, birds flue in specific regions in the past have come out if their borders today, involving new territories causing great economical damage to many countries. It should be noted especially that this virus agents can be used for bioterrorism.

South Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan) – is characterized as a zone of great geographic and climatic persity as well as persity of fauna migrant and drift birds, bats that may cause significant variations in the virus circulation chain and in the forming of ecological niches for pathogenic agents.

A number of viruses, new for the science, as well as typical for the other regions, are identified on the territory of Southern Caucasus. It is worth mentioning a big number of bird colony, where the number of birds is tremendous during migration.

Regardless how effective is strategy is chosen for viral infection control there is always the risk of its breakout and transfer from other regions, as the virus agents are preserved for a long period of time and transferred at great distances not only by mammals, birds and bats, but also by bloodsucking arthropodaes.

The main purpose of the Project is the development of models of space distribution of virus population in new social-economical and climatic-ecological conditions in South Caucasus.

Taking into consideration the profound interest of each country in South Caucasus in the health protection of human beings and animals and in the stable economical development, as well as the fact that viruses do not recognize state borders and can cause disease and outbreak epidemic in many countries at the same time, the Project presented by the leading organizations of Armenia and Georgia is extremely important and actual.

Solution of the following problems will help us to achieve the goal of this project:

  1. Explore the species and migration routes of the main carriers of dangerous viral infections in the new social-economical and climatic-ecological conditions in the region of South Caucasus.
  2. Determine and monitoring of circulation of endemic and exotic arbovirus infections and bird flue viruses in the region.
  3. Development of models of space distribution of the virus population in the new social-economical and climatic-ecological conditions in the region of South Caucasus and create of data bases in the system of GIS.

New improved methods of fundamental and applied research shall be used to address the objectives of the project:
  • field ornithological research during autumn – spring migration and nesting;
  • catching, ringing, collection of materials including shooting of birds, taking their organs and nasopharyngeal wash out;
  • identification of dominating species of virus carriers in different climatic-geographical zones;
  • identification of viral strain on the suckling mice, cells culture lines and egg embryos;
  • study of the main biological and characteristics of isolated viruses, including degree of their pathogenecity and immune-morphological characteristics.
  • preparation of diagnostic for serological research;
  • serological monitoring on availability of antibodies to some viruses;
  • mapping the obtained data on migration of animals, birds, specific stocks in different climatic-geographic zones;
  • creation of data base in the system of GIS for evolution and analysis on virus spreading in the region.

After implementation of the Project the following main results will be achieved:
  • migrating routes of wild animals and migrant birds, their collection sites and places where they get into contact with agricultural animals and human beings will be defined and analyzed as one of the main sources of the virus agent transfer in the region;
  • possible changes of specific stocks and dominating species of the bloodsucking arthropods in different climatic-geographical zones due to the changes of ecological conditions will be defined and analyzed;
  • viruses will be isolated, identificated and their biological characteristics will be studied;
  • serological investigations will present the degree of activity of the virus infection in the region;
  • mapping the obtained data, creation of data bases in the GIS system will help to develop a model of space distribution of virus populations in the region;
  • trainings and seminars will be organized for specialist, export, responding for solving the matter;
  • brochure will be published for farmers, and agriculture worker.

The following organizations will be involved in the process of implementing of this Project:
  1. Scientific Center of Cattle Breeding and Veterinary Science, Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Armenia;
  2. Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Science, Republic of Armenia;
  3. Georgian Institute of Zoology – Legal Entity of Public Low

The above mentioned organizations have a broad experience in investigation of virus role in the infection pathology of human and animal, isolation and circulation of viruses. The main scientific potential in the virology, ecology of vectors and wild fauna of Armenia and Georgia is in these organizations.

Scientific and practical results obtained during implementation of the Project will be to handed to appropriate government and private organizations, farmers and people, who are responsible for control of disease and epidemical outbreaks.

The implementation of the Project will help the scientists and specialists in Armenia and Georgia, who were dealing with the military problems before used their knowledge for solving peaceful matters.

The foreign collaborates will cooperate with participants of the Project within the framework of the following issues:

  • Information exchange in the process of project implementation and comments to provided reports;
  • provision of materials for choosing equipment, arrangement of monitoring;
  • help to develop new methods and technologies of investigations;
  • participation in organization of training courses for young specialist, seminars and business meetings;
  • creation of opportunities, which let Western Universities and laboratories to receive the participants of the Project.

The implementation of the Project will promote scientific cooperation on the regional level.


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