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Resistance of influenza viruses in environmental reservoirs and systems


The surge of the global avian influenza epizootic caused by the genotype Z highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) has posed numerous questions, in particular to risk managers and policy makers. Scientific knowledge is thin on many aspects of the e cology and environmental properties of HPAIVs, in particular H5N1. Virus survival, key element in control strategies, is an illustration of this paucity of knowledge. Data from the litterature on AIV survival are rather limited, often very old and sometime s not confirmed from one study to another or even contradictory.
Results obtained with various subtypes of influenza A virus cannot be extrapolated to the current A(H5N1) virus before a careful consideration. Further, few information is provided regarding the survival of AIVs in the air and surfaces. Meantime, no standardised protocols exist to detect AIVs in waters, in the air or in/on solid matrices. Ideally, the virus detection technique to be used should be sensitive, quantitative, rapid and applicable in routine before or after standardised sampling method, including or not concentration.
Under this project, 9 institutes directly involved in AIV, of which 3 from Asian countries, have joined forces in order to investigate the prevention and control of in fluenza outbreaks in animal populations at present and at time of restocking. More specific objectives are: 1/ to understand the basis of virus survival from a virological viewpoint; 2/ to understand the impact of physical and chemical elements on virus su rvival; 3/ to evaluate the role of environmental reservoirs; 4/ to propose standardised protocols for the concentration and detection of AIVs in waters, including waste waters, and in different matrices, including food; 5/ to provide a database together with analytical tools to allow the generation of evidence based guidelines for prevention and control of influenza outbreaks in animal and human populations, especially at time of restocking.

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