Project: Improvement of preventive actions to emerging LAGoviruses in the MEDiterranean basin: develoSMEnt and optimisation of methodologies for pathogen detection and control

Acronym LAGMED
Duration 01/09/2019 - 30/08/2022
Project Topic In the last 30 years, European rabbit populations have been decimated by the rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD). RHD is caused by a Lagovirus of the family Caliciviridae, RHD virus (RHDV) which causes a fulminant hepatitis that leads to death within 48-72h. In 2010, a new variant of RHDV (GI.2) emerged in France with unique characteristics such as an ability to kill rabbits <11 days old, vaccinated rabbits and hares. GI.2 has been reported in Europe, Australia, America and Africa, and affects both wild and farm rabbits. Several recombination events with pathogenic and non-pathogenic RHDV strains have been described, with a possible link to virulence. In this project we will monitor RHD epidemiology in the Mediterranean basin and perform a genomic characterization of circulating strains. We will collect samples from wild rabbits and hares found dead in the field, through current collaborations and ongoing monitoring activities, but also from farm animals. Genomes of the strains will be used to develop more accurate, rapid and sensitive diagnostic tools, especially relevant for the rabbit-related industry, and develop cheaper and more efficient vaccines. Considering the dynamics of the strains, we expect to test and apply biosecurity measures to prevent outbreaks and better contain the disease in the field and in rabbit-production systems. Serological status of leporid populations will also be determined. We further expect to determine the role of the rabbit immune system for vaccine design. This might be useful for containing disease outbreaks in rabbit production systems, particularly in countries located south to the Mediterranean basin. Information gathered within this proposal will be used to advise and train stakeholders and our partners in Africa on disease diagnosis and prophylaxis, and technical management. We expect to contribute to sustainable farming systems, particularly in Africa, by developing containing measures against a still emergent animal disease.
Website visit project website
Network PRIMA
Call Section 2 Call 2018 - Multi-topic

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Research Network in Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology Coordinator Portugal
2 National Veterinary School Algiers Partner Algeria
3 National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety Partner France
4 National hunting and wildlife office Partner France
5 National Institute of Agronomic Research Partner France
6 Experimental zooprophylactic institute of Lombardy and Emilia Romagna Partner Italy
7 National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology Partner Spain
8 University of Cordoba Partner Spain
9 National School of Veterinary Medicine of Sidi Thabet Partner Tunisia