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Commission announces intensification of research efforts on BSE

Mrs. Edith Cresson and Mr. Franz Fischler, Commissioners responsible for research and agriculture respectively, have announced that Community-level research on BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or "mad cow disease") and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is to be broadened an...
Mrs. Edith Cresson and Mr. Franz Fischler, Commissioners responsible for research and agriculture respectively, have announced that Community-level research on BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or "mad cow disease") and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is to be broadened and strengthened.

The Commission will take measures to increase the coordination of work undertaken in the Member States, to avoid duplication of effort, and to use resources in an efficient and productive manner. The Commission will host a meeting of Directors-General of Member States' national research ministries at the end of May to advance this.

The Commission, in collaboration with European specialists on BSE and prion diseases, has identified three areas in which research work should be strengthened:

- On European epidemiological surveillance on the frequency, dynamics and geographical distribution of transmissible encephalopathies of human and animal origin;
- On the agents and the mechanisms involved in the pathological processes;
- On therapeutic possibilities for established prion diseases.

A working group has been established to examine research on BSE and propose precise scientific priorities for Community research projects.

Community research programmes have already made significant contributions to the work on BSE and CJD. ECU 4 million has been provided under the Community RTD Framework Programmes since 1991. Several projects were launched in 1995 under the specific RTD programmes in the fields of biomedicine and health (BIOMED) and biotechnology (BIOTECH). Further calls for projects under these two programmes, as well as the agriculture and fisheries research programme (FAIR), will be launched during 1996.

The Commission has also funded scientific meetings on the subject, including a meeting to be held in Edinburgh, UK, on 3-4 May 1996 involving the European epidemiological surveillance network on CJD. This network is itself financed under the Fourth Framework Programme.

Source: European Commission, Service du Porte-parole
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