About VMERGE - Emerging viral vector borne diseases

VMERGE - Emerging viral vector borne diseases is an EU FP7 funded project formed of 16 partners over 12 countries and runs from 2013 - 2016.  The project website can be found here.

The project intends to address the risk of emerging viral vector borne diseases in two main categories of arthropods known to transmit important animal and zoonotic diseases: mosquitoes (Aedes and Culex), and Culicoides biting midges. A research proposal targeting potential emerging viral disease risks related to these vectors will be carried out through original and integrated multidisciplinary approaches including:

  • Study of virus and microbial communities by next-generation sequencing (NGS) methodsin vectors collected in targeted ecosystems, providing an unprecedented global understanding of the role of the microbial and environmental ecology in virus emergence and transmission. It will also permit the discovery of new potential pathogens and the development of innovative diagnostic methods for surveillance and new tools for intervention strategies;
  • Characterization of vector competence mechanisms in selected vector-virus couples, including mosquitoes / Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and Culicoides / Schmallenberg virus (SBV) and Orbiviruses;
  • Development of vector distribution and disease transmission models;
  • Development of better maps of high-risk areas for vector presence, as well as disease emergence and spread taking into account the impact of globalization, including climate changes and intensification of human and animal movements;
  • Design of new surveillance frameworks accounting for these new diagnostic methods, new knowledge and risk assessment analyses, for improved strategies of vectors, domestic and wild susceptible species’ surveillance by national and regional authorities;
  • Improvement of intervention strategies against vector borne diseases including new vaccines for RVFV, SBV and other possible new pathogens identified by NGS;

Owing to this field of investigations, the project has a high potential for industrial and commercial outputs in Europethrough diagnostic kits, vaccines and computational software.

For a list of project partners click here...