1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will support the Department of State’s Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) mission through scientific cooperation in agricultural research to: • Reduce the potential for dual-use application of biological sciences and technologies, particularly by terrorists and proliferant states; • Support U.S. efforts to counter biological terrorism; • Improve international bioscience laboratory capacity through research projects on infectious diseases that will lead to improved surveillance, diagnostics and disease control; • Build science, technology and research sustainability; and • Support long-term proliferation threat reduction. ARS’s programs advance agricultural science by establishing new expertise in BEP targeted countries, helping to improve the economy of BEP countries through advances in agricultural science and technology, and while enhancing the effectiveness and productivity of ARS research programs. The Office of International Research Programs (OIRP) of ARS, in coordination with the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation/Cooperative Threat Reduction Office (ISN/CTR), will provide program management and administrative approval and oversight to ensure that all collaborations are consistent with ARS objectives and U.S. foreign policy. OIRP will work with additional relevant partners to engage scientific experts in animal health research, development, monitoring and surveillance.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The Office of International Research Programs (OIRP) of ARS, in coordination with the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation/Cooperative Threat Reduction Office (ISN/CTR), will provide program management and administrative approval and oversight to ensure that all collaborations are consistent with ARS objectives and U.S. foreign policy. OIRP will work with additional relevant partners to engage scientific experts in agricultural research, development, monitoring and surveillance.
3. Progress Report:
In FY13, ARS collaborations continued with 40 on-going research projects with Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen. Examples of these ongoing projects include Rift Valley fever diagnosis and surveillance; vaccine studies for foot-and-mouth disease; and surveillance and control of Newcastle disease; and creation of germplasm of wheat donors and sources resistant to several harmful pathogens. ARS continued to work with Russian collaborators at the State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology to determine an acceptable mechanism to continue collaboration on the developed project titled “Identify, characterize and fuse phage virion associated conserved staphylolytic peptidoglycan hydrolase domains for the purpose of producing triple-acting fusion antimicrobials against Staphylococcus aureus.” The final approval for the project is stalled on the Russian side. Two projects in collaboration with the Philippines Animal Health Center, on control of livestock parasites and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, have been completed. In the former Soviet Union region, 21 research projects completed in FY13: one project with the Republic of Georgia on “Countermeasures for the Control of African Swine Fever;” two projects with Kazakhstan on restoring regular monitoring of pasturelands of Kazakhstan to decrease desertification and the development of an edible vaccine for sheep pox using transgenic plants; 13 projects with Russia in the areas of animal health (e.g. avian influenza, Marek’s disease, and prion disease) and plant health (e.g. septorioses of cereals, identification of plant parasitic nematodes, viroid and phytoplasma diseases affecting potato production); one project with Ukraine on the investigation the mechanisms of mucosal innate immunity to avian influenza; four projects with Uzbekistan on cotton disease, development of cottonseed as a feed for non-ruminant animals, the effects of agricultural practices on water quality and yield, and the cattle disease Pasteurella. This agreement with DOS will be extended through September 30, 2014.