1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Under this agreement, ARS will collaborate with APHIS, FAS and Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in the project, “Collaborative International Engagement to Prevent and Mitigate Threats from Especially Dangerous Pathogens in Agriculture” in order to support the President’s National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats. The Project specifically targets the following mutual objectives. 1) Coordinate USDA and DTRA programs with partners in a manner that establishes mutual priorities for engagement ; 2) Expand international partnerships and bioengagement; 3) Strengthen partners’ capacities to comply with World Organization for Animal Health guidelines for surveillance, detection, diagnosis and reporting of notifiable diseases; 4) Promote development of international guidelines for safety and security of high risk pathogens/toxins; 5) Support partner efforts to apply safety and security practices in a risk-based and sustainable manner.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The Office of International Research Programs (OIRP) of ARS, in coordination with FAS, APHIS and DTRA 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. The priority countries for collaboration between USDA and DTRA under this agreement include Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine.
3. Progress Report:
In FY12, ARS continued work with Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to develop new project proposals and continue collaboration on on-going projects. ARS submitted a pre-proposal on the control of brucellosis to scientific counterparts in Kazakhstan for their review and response as a follow up to the February 2012 ARS visit. In addition, the ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) continued its collaboration on DTRA Project KZ-27 on avian influenza providing training to Kazakh scientists in July. Under the DTRA plant pathogen characterization project (ISTC #2685), four Russian plant scientists were trained at three different ARS locations for 1 – 3 month periods during the timeframe September 2011 – April 2012. ARS locations included the ARS Horticultural Crops Research Unit in Corvallis, Oregon; Cereal Rust Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables, Beltsville, Maryland. Regarding new research proposal development with Russia, an ARS animal health team visited Russia in December 2011 to discuss mutual areas of interest for cooperative biological research projects with key animal health institutes and the Ministry of Agriculture. As a follow up to the December visit, the ARS Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit at Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) hosted a visit by three Russian scientists from the All Russian Research Institute of Veterinary Virology and Microbiology in Pokrov in August 2012 to develop a research project work plan on African swine fever and discuss the long term stay of a Russian veterinary scientist at PIADC. In addition, ARS continued to finalize a research project on foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) with the Federal Center for Animal Health (ARRIAH) scientists for submission to DTRA. Lastly, DTRA funded a one year extension for the on-going ARS/ISTC project #3005 on the detection and characterization of newly emerged Newcastle disease and avian influenza viruses. Activities with Ukraine in FY12 focused on the development of new project proposal on “African Swine Fever Threat Reduction through Surveillance in the Ukraine.” ARS hosted three Ukrainian scientists from the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Kharkhiv, Ukraine to develop the project work plan in April 2012. ARS scientists from the Animal Disease Research Unit in Pullman, Washington, the Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, TX, and Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit as well as the Office of National Programs jointly developed the proposal. ARS also developed the project proposal titled “Genomic, Epidemiological and Biological Characterization of Newcastle Disease Virus Isolates from Ukraine” in June involving scientists from ARS-SEPRL and the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Kharkhiv, Ukraine. Both projects were submitted to DTRA for funding. These activities will continue in 2013 through an extension of this agreement.