PALE-Blu - Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus; is an Horizon 2020 funded project formed of 19 partners over 14 countries and runs from 2017 - 2020.
PALE-Blu brings together leading laboratories in Europe with established track records working on the epidemiology, modelling, vaccinology, diagnostic systems, vector biology, pathogenesis, transmission and control of BTV outbreaks, together with established institutes in several other countries that represent a potential ‘source’ of the BTV strains that continue to invade Europe.
PALE-Blu will investigate interactions between bluetongue virus, its ruminant hosts and insect vectors that are relevant to the European ecosystem. The project will focus on genetic and environmental factors (including the distribution of different insect species and populations) that can influence virus replication and transmission, and therefore the incidence, spread and control of different BTV strains in different regions. It will also explore the basis for improved control strategies, including better models of disease spread, better diagnostic assays, antivirals and vaccines.
The objectives of the project are:
- Develop a more detailed and up-to-date molecular-epidemiology map of BTV strains circulating in domesticated and wild ruminants in Europe and neighbouring countries: This will include Northern, Central and Mediterranean Europe, as well as other ‘source’ regions containing outbreak strains that continue to spread to and emerge in Europe (e.g. Turkey, Israel, sub-Saharan, Northern and Western Africa).
- Map interactions between the environment, the composition of the Culicoides species community, the genetic characteristics of Culicoides populations and their microbiomes, to quantify connectivity between midges and virus sub-populations: This will help to disentangle the relative effects of environmental and anthropogenic factors in BTV spread, to quantify connectivity between epi-zones over short time periods and large areas.
- Develop innovative multiplex diagnostic tools for BTV identification and typing: This will enhance surveillance strategies, increasing specificity and sensitivity (particularly for the detection and identification of co-circulating serotypes) and reduce overall assay costs.
- Characterise orbivirus-related genetic control of infection and horizontal transmission in vertebrate hosts, as well as infection, replication and vector competence in European Culicoides spp.: This will include the development of cell lines derived from different European Culicoides vector species.
For a list of project partners click here...