Project budget3 715 874 €
ERDF amount2 229 524 €
Animal diseases such as Cryptosporidiosis can also pose a threat to human health. Human outbreaks can occur from water collected in areas contaminated by bovine stools. In cattle farms, this common illness is difficult to control without good breeding practices, efficient detection tools or effective pharmaceuticals. Young infected animals spread millions of parasites a day and show stunted growth. This disease leads to a higher mortality rate, which further threaten the economic viability of a sector which already faces frequent crises. By reducing the impact of cryptosporidiosis in farms, our project aims to increase farm productivity in a number of different countries, making these businesses more efficient and successful, with a lower impact on human health. For this purpose, this project aims to provide pilot farms, detection tools and technological devices that can accelerate the discovery of new drugs at the lowest possible cost.
The main objective is to reduce the sanitary and economic impact of Cryptosporidium. The project will tackle a twofold approach:
- We target to halve the number of contaminated calves in terms of prevention and consequently in terms of economic impact. In that goal, pilot farms will be disseminated across the 2 seas area. These farms will be operational demonstrators to proof and transfer good practices and usage of a detection kit within the animal production sector. Positive results from these changes will be controlled and quantified via epidemiologic and economic studies.
- We target to accelerate the discovery of new anti-Cryptosporidium pharmaceuticals. We will propose an innovative electronic device for analysing faster potential effects of various compounds tested. We will finally conduct Market exploration on the analytical tools and technology. This transfer strategy will be focused on biotechnology and pharmaceutical corporations.
- Dissemination of 40 pilot farms across the 2 seas area used as reference site for farmers
- Create a low-cost and easy-to-use pilot in-situ parasite detection system, which can be used by farmers as well and produced by biotech companies.
- Adapt an electronic Cryptosporidium-viability monitoring micro-system, applicable as standard to pharmaceutical laboratories to rapidly characterise potentially therapeutic compounds.
- Develop market study linked to business model and strategies to transfer technologies to the end users (biotech/pharmaceutical companies)
Cross border approach
Pathogens are not bound by national borders. Trade between farms and breeding centres can be a vector for pathogens, including Cryptosporidium, to spread far and wide. In addition, in order for the results of this project to be sustainable over time, we must be able to provide different kind of farms’ model, which can be adapted in each country. As such, we need to combine the expertise of various partners (Belgian, Dutch, English and French) on current farming strategies, in each region, to propose infectious risk management procedures, which will work in the context of their individual constraints. All pilot farms will apply elaborated detection devices. Regarding research structures involved, we will also need to combine our expertise with that of other cross-border organisations (i.e. the development of a pilot system will require both the expertise on Cryptosporidium culturing from the partners in England along with the micro-electronics expertise of the partners in France).
H4DC project started in March 2019. Since that date, 4 months were spent to obtain duly signed administrative documents (Partnership agreement, Public Procurement Policy).
The kick off meeting was rapidly organized in Lille and completed with a start meeting in Canterbury to initiate first work steps. This meeting was also a time to write out the monitoring plan. We directly started to hire technician (PP7), PhD students (LP, PP3) and post doc candidates (LP, PP3). This procedure spread over 1 to 6 months because of good candidates’ lack.
WP 5 started with Rollup, Poster, Website design, Scientific conferences (IGCC, IPTA, Apicowplexa) and professional fair (Vetel) participations. We made animations and video shootings to present strategies and partnership within the 2 seas programme context.
WP1 was initiated with the redaction of information sheet, an agreement document and exhaustive questionnaire on farm practices (LP, PP3, PP4, PP5, PP6, PP7). Afterward, PP4 and PP5 actively recruited farmers and started interviews and sampling. Samples are currently analysed by LP and PP3 with first genetic results obtained for Dutch samples. PP6 delayed farm recruitment because of ethical problem. Several contacts with European administrator and LP led to circumvent this issue. Vets from RVC were not available during H4DC starting period. Following a meeting in London with PP3 and LP, the solution to delay this experimental step was decided. The test kit building started. Following sequence analysis, list of target proteins was reduce from 10 to 4 good candidates by PP3. Finally, PP7 identified from scientific literature keys factors that contribute to the risk of parasite infection.
Regarding WP2, PhD students were trained on cell culture and parasite infection. LP, PP2, PP3 shared their methods, cell types and devices. Thanks to the configuration of a server, data from microscopy started to be shared. The engineering of fluorescent cell line for drug screening was completed (PP3).
The WP3 started by the creation of a contact database and the redaction of an IPR document.
During this first year, management was done with the target to ease administrative constraints and communication between partners. This strategy led also to increase cross border cooperation through co working session (i.e : questionnaire redaction) and data/material/knowledge sharing between partners.
(H4DC project has just started and no outputs nor Specific objectives were reached.)