1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Under this agreement, ARS will collaborate with APHIS, FAS and 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, Ukraine and Georgia as well as funds for scoping missions to Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
3. Progress Report:
In FY13, ARS finalized and submitted three fully developed research project proposals to the DTRA Service Call for funding approval: 1) “Analysis of the evolution of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) genome recovered from persistently infected cattle” between ARS Plum Island Animal Disease Center and the Federal Center for Animal Health in Vladimir, Russia; and 2) “African Swine Fever Threat Reduction Through Surveillance in the Ukraine” between the ARS Arthropod-Borne Animal Diseases Research Unit, Manhattan, KS; the ARS Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory, Kerrville, TX and the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine in Kharkhiv, Ukraine; and 3) “Genomic, Epidemiological and Biological Characterization of Newcastle Disease Virus Isolates from Ukraine” between the ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, Athens, GA and the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine in Kharkhiv, Ukraine. Throughout the year, ARS managers and scientists communicated with DTRA representatives regarding various aspects of the proposals from biosafety compliance to animal care and use. Under the auspices of this agreement, DTRA also supported two on-going ARS research projects with Russia that were originally funded by the Department of State Biosecurity Engagement Program: 1) “Collection, identification, characterization, and preservation of Russian population of phytopathogenic bacteria” with the Russian Research Institute of Phytopathology in Golitsino; and 2) “Detection and characterization of newly emerged Newcastle disease and avian influenza viruses” with the Federal Center for Animal Health in Vladimir. In FY13, the ARS collaborators on both projects met with their Russian counterparts to discuss the projects and plan joint publications. Starting in February 2013, the ARS Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory, Kerrville, Texas hosted Dr. Irina Sindryakova, All Russian Research Institute of Veterinary Microbiology and Virology, Pokrov, under an 8 week scientific exchange program funded by DTRA via the Foreign Agricultural Service related to the spread of African swine fever (ASF). While she was there, she worked with ARS scientists on tick identification, tick collection methods, tick rearing methods, and disease transmission via tick. In return, ARS scientist Andrew Li visited the Russian institute in Pokrov as a follow up to the training and to discuss areas for future scientific joint cooperation on ASF.