Guadeloupe: paving the way for a centre of excellence on vector-borne and emerging diseases

EPIGENESIS–a new European project coordinated by the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), with CReSA as a partner, was just launched in Guadeloupe on 1st September and will run for 3 years. The aim is to enhance the research potential on vector-borne and emerging diseases within the Caribbean region.

By improving the research capacity and knowledge transfer via the one-health (animal and human) concept, EPIGENESIS, funded by the European Union FP7 REGPOT programme, will increase the capacity for predicting, monitoring and controlling of such diseases.

The EPIGENESIS kick-off meeting took place from 16 to 18 September at the Duclos research site (Prise d’Eau, Petit-Bourg, Guadeloupe) with project partners from Europe, Guadeloupe and elsewhere in the West Indies. The official opening ceremony was held on the morning of 16 September in the presence of representatives from the European Union, the INTERREG IV Caribbean programme, the French State, the Region, the municipality of Petit-Bourg, the CaribVET Caribbean Animal Health Network and partner research organizations: the Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, Spain), Instituto de Biologia Experimental Tecnologica (IBET, Portugal), Instituto de Tecnologia Química et Biologica (ITQB, Portugal), Agriculture and Veterinary Information and Analysis (AviaGIS, Belgium), Ecole des hautes études de santé publique (INRA, France), Pasteur Institute, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS) and the University of the French West Indies and Guiana.

Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus. James Gathany, CDC

A new CIRAD building cofinanced by the INTERREG IV Caribbean programme was inaugurated on this occasion. This increases the Unit’s capacity for hosting researchers from the West Indies and Europe, thus fostering regional and international expansion, one thrust of the project. The following days were devoted to programming EPIGENESIS project activities in collaboration with the European and Caribbean partners.

The ultimate aim is to create a Caribbean centre of excellence on vector-borne and emerging diseases. This centre will closely collaborate with the CaribVET Caribbean Animal Health Network and European partner institutions to improve integration in the European Research Area (ERA). The initiative–with the support of regional authorities and Structural Funds–will help promote risk management development in the region, in line with the smart regional specialisation strategy currently being developed.

Emerging infectious diseases involving arthropod vectors or vertebrate hosts threaten human and animal health worldwide, while also thriving well in the global climate change setting (increased travel and trade, natural disasters, climatic and social change, etc.). This is particularly true in the Caribbean region where disease epidemics are prevalent.

The aim is thus to better safeguard animal health, food security and public health–crucial in Caribbean and European areas–by improving health crisis anticipation through ambitious research programmes and the development of innovative control strategies.

Contact with responsible for this project at CReSA:

Dr. Albert Bensaid
Coordinator of the CReSA subprogram of research on transboundary viral infections
Phone no.: +34 935814558
Fax: +34 935814490
Edifici CReSA. Campus de la UAB
08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès) Spain

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