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Pandemic Preparedness Capabilities

EnBiFlu, testing the efficiency of multifaceted environmental assessment of avian influenza threats and outbreaks

PI(s)/Head responsible for the resource:

Anna J. Székely

Host organisation(s):

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU.

Resource description:

Avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, poses a significant threat to both avian and human populations. The constant evolution of avian influenza viruses (IAVs) in natural reservoirs and their potential to jump the species barrier have made it essential to assess preparedness and response strategies. The EnBiFlu project focuses on evaluating the ability of the Swedish Environmental Epidemiology Center (SEEC) and its collaborators to address avian influenza threats and outbreaks.

This project comprises four distinct working packages (WPs), each addressing specific aspects of avian influenza research and response:

  • WP1 aims to establish standardized methods for detecting avian IAVs in environmental samples including improvement of concentration and viral nucleic acid extraction methods and validation of qPCR and hpPCR-based assays for IAV detection.
  • WP2 aims to assess the possibility to the detect avian IAVs in wild bird populations through sampling of lake water during the spring migration period.
  • WP3 aims to measure transmission of respiratory viruses in high-density poultry farms, which are a critical concern. WP3 will assess the risk of windborne virus spread between poultry units using model respiratory viruses used as aerosolised vaccines.
  • WP4 aims to evaluate the speed and efficiency of the SEEC PLP unit in detecting a potential human outbreak of avian IAV, or a novel IAV. This WP involves a real-time outbreak simulation, where wastewater monitoring protocols are put to the test in rapidly detecting, identifying and evaluating the novel IAV.

As quick and efficient detection and identification are pivotal in responding to potential outbreaks and pandemics, the results of the collaborative work involved in EnvBiFlu will definitely enhance our preparedness and response to the realistic possibility of an avian influenza related threat.

Available data, code, and protocols from the resource:

Dashboard: The amount of SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater across Sweden

Contact information:

Anna J. Székely