Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Research on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs)

The European Commission, DG XII, has published a specific call for proposals for RTD activities on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) under the Community's specific RTD programme in the field of agriculture and fisheries (including agro-industry, food technologies, forestry, aquaculture and rural development) (FAIR).

The objectives and the research, technological development and demonstration activities covered by the present call for proposals relate to sub-area 4.4.2 - Animal Health, of Area 4 of the FAIR work programme. Eligible parties are invited to submit proposals for RTD actions, either in the form of shared-cost actions (RTD projects, demonstration projects) or concerted actions, in the following areas:

- 1. Development of specific, sensitive, practical and rapid diagnostic tests for TSE infectivity or for the detection of disease-specific markers for use in live animals in the pre-clinical and/or clinical phase of disease;
- 2. Development of transgenic mice for the development of sensitive, rapid bioassays to detect TSE infectivity in cattle and sheep tissues, or products therefrom;
- 3. Determination of the infectivity titres in cattle and sheep tissues, as well as in milk and blood, or products therefrom, which enter the animal feed chain, human food chain or are used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products using methods more sensitive than conventional mice;
- 4. Development of effective, safe protocols for the inactivation of TSE agents during commercial processing of animal tissues, particularly those used in feed, food, pharamaceuticals or cosmetics;
- 5. Detection of covert BSE in cattle;
- 6. Determination of the maternal factors responsible for increasing the risk to offspring of cattle with confirmed BSE developing the disease;
- 7. Comparison of the biological characteristics (e.g. strain types) of isolates from incidents of TSE;
- 8. Determination of the occurrence, incidence and level of cross-contamination of carcass meat by central nervous tissues from cattle, sheep and other species during conventional slaughtering, dressing and butchering procedures and to develop methods for eliminating or reducing any risks;
- 9. Determination of relative efficiencies of infection with the BSE agent by the oral and intracerebral routes in various species and to establish whether or not oral doses which are individually insufficient to cause disease can do so when administered repetitively over a long or short period;
- 10. Determination of co-factors which aid, delay or prevent the development of animal TSE, including studies of possible vectors.

The work programme, detailed information about procedures for the submission of proposals (information package) and a copy of the model contract that will be drawn up for the proposals accepted are available on request from the Commission's services. The description of work undertaken in related Community programmes is also available on request.

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