Scientists to protect NI from African Swine fever
Scientists from Queen's University Belfast are
involved in an international project aimed to protect Northern Ireland's
agri-food industry from African swine fever.
Local researchers in the AFRISK project are working with 16 partner
institutes around the world including Africa and the Far East to provide new
ways of detecting African Swine Fever (ASF) and reduce the risk of the disease
being imported into EU member states.
Gordon Allan, an Honorary Professor at
Queen's who is also a Principal Scientific Officer in the Agri-Food and
Biosciences Institute (AFBI), is leading researchers in the European
Commission-funded projects, which have each been awarded
Professor Allan said: "This virus poses a significant threat to
the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland and rapid detection in any suspect
infected animals is an important step in controlling and eliminating potential
outbreaks of the disease."
African Swine Fever, has recently spread
across Europe, and is no longer confined to sub-Sahara African states, and
recent outbreaks have been recorded in Sardinia, Georgia, Armenia and southern
Russia. Global warming and climate change are thought to be increasing the
spread of the disease in Europe.
Professor Allan explained: "It is
important to the agri-food industry on the island of Ireland that researchers,
both North and South of the border, continue to participate in these large
collaborations enable locally-based scientists to input expertise but they also
gain considerable information from partners around the world on how to
successfully fight the increasing threat to our local industry.
"Infectious diseases do not recognise borders and multinational
collaboration is the only effective way to combat their spread," Allan
â€¢ Queens University Belfast
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