The BSE crisis and recent alerts related to food safety because of the possibility that BSE may be present in sheep or infectivity in muscle have underlined the necessity for a coordinated applied research effort on prion diseases at the European level to ensure protection of human and animal health and to avoid harmful economic consequences. This project aims at structuring and integrating the research effort of the main European research teams involved in prion diseases so as to coordinate their efforts.
The joint programme of research activities will focus on prevention (diagnosis and decontamination), control (epidemiology, standards set up), treatment (favouring the rational design of new therapeutic strategies) and risk management (analysis and expert opinions) of TSEs (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies). In diagnostic terms, the focus will be put on rapid differential analysis of different strains of prions (mainly to distinguish BSE from scrapie in small ruminants) and new antemortem diagnosti c methods (with a special interest for new markers) able to contribute to food and blood safety. In practice, the first goal will be to integrate and manage research expertise, particularly in the fields of epidemiology, pathogenesis, transmission, inactiv ation and therapeutics. A second goal is to define and coordinate projects oriented to generate applied deliverables having an impact on public health and agricultural monitoring. Structuring activities will cover the development of common tools and models , training and exchange of personnel. Infrastructures devoted to prion experimentation, notably in France, will be opened for access to European researchers to promote training and rapid dissemination of scientific knowledge.
<P>For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/food_quality/projects/012_en.ht…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> or the <a href="http://www.neuroprion.org/en/home.html" target="_blank">NEUROPRION </a> Web sites.