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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Avian influenza: impact of virus-host interactions on pathogenesis and ecology


Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) have acquired the unprecedented and alarming capability to infect humans. By establishing a permanent ecological niche in wild birds, HPAIV will pose a continuous risk for poultry and fatal human infections, especially if these birds excrete HPAIV without showing any clinical signs of disease. These changes in the ecology of the disease and behaviour of the virus may create opportunities for a pandemic virus to emerge. Attempts to avoid or contain HPAIV outbreaks have been largely unsuccessful. This can be directly linked to our lack of fundamental knowledge. Therefore, it is essential to increase our knowledge of the ecology and pathology of avian influenza virus infections in poultry and other species.

Full understanding of the ecology and pathogenesis of HPAIV requires a multidisciplinary approach determining host-pathogen interactions and the role played by the host immune response. To this end, the FLUPATH consortium was established. FLUPATH is composed o f 13 partners, 6 of which are National Reference Laboratories for avian influenza. The consortium further includes 5 academic institutions and 2 institutions specialized in animal science and health.

The participants, with expertise in chicken genomics, micro-array technology, pathology, receptors, innate immunity and chicken immunology, will use multidisciplinary and complementary approaches to address key problems and unanswered questions with respect to the ecology and pathogenesis of avian influenza. FLU PATH will provide knowledge and tools for new strategies which will be tailored for the control and management of avian influenza at the European and International level. This will limit the impact of this disease on human health and losses to the poultry industry in terms of animals and economics. The accompanying reduction in animal slaughter, financial and economic losses will place a significantly lower demand on EU and member states' budgets.

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Costerweg 50

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Participants (14)