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ARS Home » Research » Research Project #436773

Research Project: National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Scientists Project

Location: Research Programs

2022 Annual Report

Obj. 1. Develop CCHF virus diagnostic tests for early detection and surveillance of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus including development of viral detection methods for ticks and viral detection methods for cattle, sheep, and goats. Comp. 1: Problem Statement 1A Obj. 2. Determine mechanisms of CCHF transmission including development of CCHF tick and animal infection methods and CCHF tick-animal transmission models. Comp.1: Problem Statement 1A

The goal of National Program 103 (NP 103), Animal Health, is to protect and ensure the safety of the Nation’s agriculture and food supply through improved disease detection, prevention, and control. Basic and applied research approaches will be applied to solve animal health problems of high national priority. The National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) will take over the mission of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) and be the ARS lead facility for Foreign Animal Disease research. NBAF will 1) provide solutions to problems associated with the control, eradication, and recovery of foreign and emerging diseases, and 2) maintain a portfolio of expertise that will allow ARS to rapidly respond to new and unforeseen disease threats.

Progress Report
Regarding Objective 1, we are continuing with two agreements related to Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) disease ecology and pathogenesis with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of Texas Medical Branch and the University of California Davis One Health Institute. ARS researchers at Manhattan, Kansas, had a role in the standup of the research program. Due to the vacant research leader position, these programs were stood up using Work Force Development Funds and project funds. Several research staff members were provided training in biosafety and operational policies and procedures (biosafety, security, information technology, facility operations) for research programs to be conducted in the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI). This training was provided by a team of BRI research support staff. Training modules include areas that are directly associated with protocols, procedures, practices and policies of the BRI such as cyber security, physical security, biosafety, biocontainment, select agent rules, respiratory protection, chemical hygiene/lab safety, hazardous waste awareness, and fire safety. BRI biosafety staff and laboratory coordinators worked with location research staff members to develop biosafety manuals and standard operating procedures specific to the current and future research activities. Under this project a network was developed to coordinate different activities between university and federal biosafety level (BSL) 3/4 Large Animal and Laboratory Agricultural Research Facilities. Regarding Objective 2. Despite the SARS-Cov2 pandemic, the research project in West and East Africa (Sierra Leone and Tanzania) has been very successful, collecting thousands of ticks and blood samples from livestock (cattle, goats) in areas with high risk of CCHF. Samples will be shipped to the CDC for CCHF testing.

1. Development of scientific staff in experience in emerging diseases. Three postdoctoral research associates were hired and trained at their respective institutes working in Biosafety Level 4 facilities in collaboration with ARS in Manhattan, Kansas, establishing ecological studies in endemic regions of Africa. The project has been successful in collecting thousands of ticks and blood samples from livestock (cattle, goats) in areas with high risk of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever. Samples will be shipped to the Centers for Disease Control for Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever testing.