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Commission approves eight TSE research projects

The European Commission has approved funding for eight shared-cost research projects on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). The projects have been approved following the first specific call for TSE research projects published, in December 1996 (OJ No S 244 of 17.1...
The European Commission has approved funding for eight shared-cost research projects on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). The projects have been approved following the first specific call for TSE research projects published, in December 1996 (OJ No S 244 of 17.12.1996, p.38), under the Community's specific RTD programme in the field of Agriculture and Fisheries (FAIR).

A total budget of ECU 8.8 million, provided through the FAIR programme, will be made available to these projects as a 'first move' in the "Action Plan for Research into Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathies (BSE) and other Prion Diseases". The projects involve the participation of nine Member States of the EU, three associated countries to the FAIR programme (Norway, Iceland, Israel) and Cyprus.

The eight projects adopted cover research themes of the action plan which are based on the scientific priorities identified by the working group chaired by Professor Weissmann. An important effort is devoted to the development of specific, sensitive and rapid diagnostic tests in live animals in the pre-clinical phase of the disease as well as in tissues of slaughtered animals. The search for diagnostic tests also includes a profound study of molecular and cellular biological characteristics of the agent.

Emphasis is given to a comprehensive analysis of genetic factors affecting variability in BSE and scrapie susceptibility together with the creation of a wide European network to study scrapie susceptibility of major European sheep and goat breeds and their interaction with different scrapie strains. It is also foreseen to develop transgenic mice necessary for bioassays to detect TSE infectivity and evaluate the transmission of TSE in various species.

It is expected that this first important step of the action plan on research on TSE will provide important information about these diseases and important tools for their control and eradication.

Source: European Commission, Service du Porte-parole

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