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Unrestricted access to drinking water of good quality is one of the basic prerequisite of life. For this to be achieved it is necessary to treat the raw water through chemical, biological and physical methods. However, the water treatment is not exhaustive and some microorganisms are able to overcome it whereby posing a health risk. This review draws attention mainly to the occurrence of free living amoeba at different stages of water treatment and their importance as a reservoir of potentially pathogenic non-tuberculous mycobacteria. Mycobacteria may present a severe threat to human health considering they cause serious infections to the skin, as well as of the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2007-2-4-03 | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2008

The concept of VITAL is the integrated monitoring and control of contamination of the European food supply chain by pathogenic viruses. VITAL will use advanced methods for virus detection throughout selected food supply chains from farm to market, to gather data on virus contamination of food and environmental sources suitable for quantitative viral risk assessment. Supply chains will be monitored for the presence of indicator viruses commonly found in faecal contamination events. These viruses can be distinguished into strains of human and animal origin, which will indicate contamination from a specific source. Modelling tools will be developed to define the quantitative viral risk for each scenario, and to assess foodborne viral risks for determining high risk situations and efficacy of interventions. Modular process risk models will be developed to build up specific HACCP recommendations. Recent developments in risk management will be evaluated for their use in reducing foodborne viral infections. Survival of viruses in foods will be modelled, and disinfection procedures used in the food industry will be evaluated, to elucidate the critical points where virus contamination may be controlled. VITAL will disseminate its findings by producing handbooks and guidelines on appropriate control practices, and communicate requirements necessary for establishing reliable monitoring of food chains for viruses on a regular or as-needed basis. Therefore VITAL will provide to Europe a framework for monitoring, risk modelling, and procedures for control of foodborne virus contamination, which will be applicable to any virus, whether existing, emerging or re-emerging, that poses the danger of being transmitted by food. Implementation of such a framework of preventive or proactive virus contamination management will form a first line of defence against transmission of foodborne viral diseases in Europe.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2008. | Award Amount: 3.53M | Year: 2009

Chlorinated dioxins and biphenyls (PCBs) commonly occur in the human food chain and can still be detected at levels that might cause long term health effects. Exposure to dioxin-like compounds involves a complex mixture with a common mechanism of action involving endocrine, developmental, carcinogenic, immuno and neurological effects. Risk assessment is done with an additive model for mixture toxicity. Based on this the Toxic Equivalency (TEQ) concept was developed as a biomarker for exposure and risk. TEQs are the sum of congener-specific toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) multiplied by the concentration in a matrix, e.g. blood. TEF values are a composite quantitative value from a range of biomarkers that are congener and endpoint specific. Present human TEQs have been derived from oral administration experiments providing intake TEFs. Regulatory authorities frequently use intake TEQs for blood and tissues considering it a biomarker for exposure or effect. Experimental evidence shows that using uptake TEQs as systemic biomarkers may lead to misinterpretation of risks. Therefore, development and validation of systemic TEFs and TEQs as biomarkers is necessary. Major objectives of SYSTEQ are: i) establish systemic TEFs and TEQs, ii) identify novel quantifiable biomarkers with newest molecular methods, e.g. genetic fingerprinting profiles, iii) extra focus on effects in peripheral lymphocytes as biomarkers, iv) identify differences between humans and experimental species. The systemic TEFs and TEQs from SYSTEQ will be used in conjunction with results of the completed EU PCBRISK project, in which two populations from Slovakia with very different exposure were studied. Individual blood levels and different biomarkers are already available. Results of SYSTEQ are also going to be used to establish international consensus values of systemic TEFs at WHO level, facilitating the global use of systemic TEQs as biomarkers of effect and exposure.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.1.2-10 | Award Amount: 8.06M | Year: 2012

European aquaculture production provides direct employment to 65.000 people with a turnover of 3 billion . However, the lack of authorised veterinary medicinal products and the consequent disease outbreaks in farmed fish species costs the sector 20% of the production value. The most appropriate method for disease control, both on economical and ethical grounds, is disease prevention by vaccination. TargetFish will advance the development of existing (but not sufficient) and new prototype vaccines against socio-economically important viral or bacterial pathogens of Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, common carp, sea bass, sea bream and turbot. The project will develop targeted vaccination strategies for currently sub-optimal and for novel vaccines. Improved vaccines will be brought closer to industrial application by addressing practical issues such as efficacy, safety and delivery route. TargetFish will also establish a knowledge- and technology-base for rational development of next generation fish vaccines. To achieve these challenging tasks, we brought together 29 partners from 11 EU member states, 2 associated countries and 1 International Cooperation Partner Country (ICPC). In this large multidisciplinary consortium an approximate equal number of RTD and SME partners will cooperate closely while keeping an intensive communication with the large vaccine and nutrition industries via an Industry Forum. Specifically, TargetFish will 1) generate knowledge by studying antigens and adjuvants for mucosal routes of administration while analyzing the underpinning protective immune mechanisms; 2) validate this knowledge with response assays for monitoring vaccine efficacy and study safety aspects, including those associated with DNA vaccines; 3) approach implementation of prototype vaccines by optimizing vaccination strategies thus 4) shortening the route to exploitation. Thereby, this project will greatly enhance targeted disease prophylaxis in European fish farming.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2010.2.4-01 | Award Amount: 3.49M | Year: 2012

The general objectives of PROMISE are: PROMISE strives for multidimensional networking thus fostering integration The primary strategic objective of PROMISE is to improve and increase the integration, collaboration and knowledge transfer between the new member states, old member states (EU15) and candidate countries through a collaborative workplan of exchange of expertise and regional training and dissemination actions, to tackle common food safety threats. PROMISE strives for sustainability through involvement of risk communicators A further strategic objective is to integrate stakeholders like public health authorities and national food safety authorities from the old and new member countries in order to ensure the exploitation of research results into standardisation and harmonisation efforts. PROMISE will enhance the knowledge on pathogen transmission While legal imports are well monitored for contamination and alerts are registered through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF; http://www.efet.gr/docs/rasff/report2008_en.pdf) notification systems, gates into the EU-27 could exist where food supply chains are not controllled. These uncontrolled imports present the risk that new strains of traditional pathogens will be transferred from third countries into the European Union. Analysing, assessing and interpreting this risk of introducing new strains of pathogens is one of the main objectives of PROMISE.

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