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, STATE and ARS supported biosecurity engagement through 44 on-going research projects with Egypt, Yemen, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. These include viroid and phytoplasma diseases affecting potato production in Russia; evaluation of potential germplasm resistance against root-knot nematode and Fusarium wilt diseases in cotton; Rift Valley fever diagnosis and surveillance; vaccine studies for foot-and-mouth disease; and surveillance and control of Newcastle disease; and detection and characterization of newly emerged Newcastle disease and avian influenza viruses. A new project was started with Ukraine on development of vaccines against Newcastle disease using recombinant DNA technology and study of their protective effects in chickens with the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine. ARS extended a project with Novosibirsk State University in Russia on the ecology of influenza A and Newcastle disease viruses in wild birds and poultry in eastern Siberia and pathogenic characterization of isolated influenza viruses in avian species including H5N1 highly pathogenic viruses. ARS continues to work through the Agriculture Office, US Mission, Algeria to initiate the Rift Valley Fever research and control project which was funded in FY 2011 but has not yet received a formal proposal from Algeria. Projects on Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome and control of livestock parasites, both conducted in partnership with the Philippines Animal Health Center, 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.