UK research organisation the Pirbright Institute is to play an integral role in an international project to fight insect-vectored diseases such as bluetongue and Schmallenberg.
The interdisciplinary Infravec2 Project, funded under the Horizon 2020 research infrastructure programme, will study insect vectors of human and animal disease, including mosquitoes and sandflies.
According to researchers, a consortium of 24 partner institutions co-ordinated by the Institut Pasteur, France, will work on specific ‘packages’ of research.
One of the key aims of the project will be to establish experimental standards for insect infection studies.
Anthony Wilson, group leader for integrative entomology at Pirbright, said: “Diseases do not respect borders and international collaboration like this is the most effective and efficient way to combat the disease threats facing the world in the 21st Century.
“The cutting-edge, high containment laboratories we have at Pirbright have given us a capability to work with high impact human pathogens. The Infravec2 project is a great opportunity to use these facilities to support international research into vector-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.”
Wilson said the funding for the project would also benefit research at Pirbright and elsewhere by improving how insect infection experiments are designed and performed so they “better reflect the consequences of real-world variation”.
The Infravec2 project will be officially launched in Paris, France, on 15-17 March, and will run until 2021.