Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is one of the world's most infectious diseases of livestock and continues to pose a significant threat to endemic and free regions alike. The impact of FMD on society and international trade is high, thereby demanding stringent prevention, surveillance and control plans taken up in crisis preparedness plans. On the other hand, there is a global increased demand for animal welfare and ethical considerations necessitating a decreased reliance on eradication of animals to control FMD (FMDV) spread, and on the use of animals for the regulatory testing of veterinary products. The project seeks to balance these apparently contracting viewpoints by addressing specific gabs in our knowledge on all aspects of FMD control and to enable implementation of enhancing animal-sparing vaccine-based control strategies tailored to the needs of free and endemic settings. Consequently, four main objectives have been identified, including
1) the improvement of existing FMD vaccines and diagnostics
2) the refinement and replacement of in vivo FMD vaccine quality tests
3) the development of new generation FMD vaccines and diagnostics by applying cutting edge technologies
4) the enhancement of our knowledge of FMDV spread and transmission following the use of high-potency monovalent or multivalent vaccines.
The role of wildlife (buffalo, gazelles and wild boar) in FMDV maintenance and transmission will also be investigated. The project consists of seven different, yet interlinked, work packages (WP) each addressing one of the items listed in the Work Programme topic KBBE-2008-1-3-02, and led by renowned WP leaders with years of relevant experience in the field of FMD. As such, significant progress towards the objectives of the Community's Animal Health Strategy (2007-2013), the European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health, and the Global Roadmap for improving the Tools to Control FMD in Endemic Settings will be achieved.