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CRDF Global Joins International Group to Examine Spread of Infectious Disease by Migratory Birds

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CRDF Global Joins International Group to Examine Spread of Infectious Disease by Migratory Birds

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A multinational effort is underway to understand and control the spread of disease among migratory birds. Called the Avian Zoonotic Disease Network, it is aimed at detecting dangerous infectious diseases and pathogens of pandemic potential, such as avian influenza.

Researchers from Georgia, Jordan and Ukraine are partnering with Michigan State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and CRDF Global in the United States. This collaborative team is working along what’s known as the Mediterranean and Black Sea Flyway, the main migration route for birds between Africa and Europe.

The project is funded by a grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Biological Threat Reduction Program of the U.S. Department of Defense. Research will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scientists, including bioinformatics experts, veterinary virologists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, statisticians, ornithologists, and disease ecologists.

Cooperative threat reduction networks such as the Avian Zoonotic Disease Network are critical for meeting the challenges of detecting especially dangerous infectious diseases and pathogens of pandemic potential, such as avian influenza. Through these cooperative networks, we can strengthen the diagnostics capabilities with sequencing technologies and bioinformatics that can also be used to better understand the ecology of emerging diseases.

The Avian Zoonotic Disease Network will be proactive in developing on-the-ground strategies and biosurveillance. This includes investigating the prevalence of pathogens in migratory birds, examining host and environmental determinants of infections, and implementing protocols across the three partner countries to expand research capacity. The project will be applying cutting-edge technologies for sequencing and genomics to broad regional biosurveillance efforts.