Molecular and reverse genetics studies of orbivirus transmission host responses epidemiology and diagnostic systems

Lead Research Organisation: The Pirbright Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED

Abstract

Since 1998, there have been multiple incursions of bluetongue into Southern, Central and Northern Europe. These outbreaks have involved at least 12 distinct bluetongue virus (BTV) strains, belonging to 9 different serotypes and have lead to the death of more than two million animals. In addition, significant economic losses have been incurred due to loss in productivity, restrictions in animal movements and trade as part of control programmes. These events demonstrate that the entire European Union is now at risk from further introductions of BTV, and potentially of other BTV-related related Orbiviruses, particularly those also transmitted by Culicoides vectors (including African horse sickness virus [AHSV], epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus [EHDV] and equine encephalosis virus [EEV]). Worryingly, AHSV, EHDV and EEV have been detected just outside the EU in Israel, Turkey, as well as North and West Africa and now pose a further significant threat to livestock in Europe. This proposal will establish 'OrbiNet', a network of 9 laboratories focussing on research on BTV and related orbiviruses in 8 European countries and Israel. The 'OrbiNet' Partners include university departments, government laboratories and reference centres that already work on orbiviruses and associated diseases. The goals of OrbiNet are to provide training, share reagents and expertise, and conduct targeted research programmes with the overall aim to better understand orbivirus transmission, epidemiology, pathogenesis and develop better diagnostic techniques. These activities will enhance research capacity and capability and increase the knowledge base and expertise within partner laboratories, thus underpinning the development of improved tools / strategies to prevent and control these economically important animal pathogens. OrbiNet will closely liaise with the scientific community, government agencies, the EU and industry in order to exploit the knowledge generated and help to inform animal health research policies and activities at the EU level.

Technical Summary

'OrbiNet' will build a network of research laboratories across 8 European countries and Israel, focussing on bluetongue and other important diseases (including epizootic haemorhagic disease and African horse sickness) that are caused by closely related orbiviruses. The Partners include university departments, government laboratories and reference laboratories that are already established as research centres for these important and emerging pathogens. The OrbiNet coordinator, Prof. Peter Mertens, (IAH Pirbright) has 29 years BTV research experience, and is well suited to steer the network. The Principal Investigators have established and complementary expertise in molecular virology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, viral diagnostics, virus structure, vaccinology and immunology, with access to appropriate resources, facilities and reagents to meet project goals. WP leaders will meet every 6 months to monitor progress and help co-ordinate specific aspects of the programme. Exchange visits between participating laboratories, training modules, and joint meetings / publications will help disseminate results of the work carried out and cement long term relationships.

Planned Impact

The spread of BTV has had a major impact on sustainability and productivity of livestock industries across Europe. It has restricted and damaged trade between European Member States, caused animal health problems and major economic losses associated with fatalities, reduced productivity and associated surveillance control programmes. BTV has been introduced on multiple occasions (since 1998) to both Southern and Northern Europe, resulting in disease outbreaks, which pose a continuing risk to the region and indicating an increased risk posed by related orbiviral diseases transmitted by the same insect vectors. The importance of research in these areas is highlighted by the success of molecular epidemiology studies and the development of novel diagnostic assay systems, that have been developed by members of the OrbiNet partnership, as well as the European vaccination programmes (particularly against BTV-1 and 8). However, it is clear that there is still a need for further improvement in diagnostic systems, as well as a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms and genetic determinants of the host's immune response to the virus, determinants of virus transmission by the insect vector, overwintering (e.g. by vertical transmission), pathogenesis and virulence. Further detailed information in these areas will help us assess risks and develop better control strategies for bluetongue and related diseases. The work of the project will involve multiple partner laboratories across Europe (through the OrbiNet consortium), which will be funded via their own national authorities. OrbiNet will build capacity and capability in many areas of orbivirus research, in a manner that is particularly relevant to these economically important transboundary diseases. Each of the participating laboratories will have the opportunity to gain new skills in reverse genetics technologies for this important group of viruses, which will open up significant future research opportunities. Exchange visits by staff and students, as well as joint meetings, will help to disseminate information and technologies. The research outputs of the UK partners (and the consortium as a whole) will be of importance to policy makers and the livestock-farming community, as well as potentially to vaccine maufacturers, diagnostic laboratories and manufacturers of diagnostic assay systems.

Publications

10 25 50
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Arenas-Montes AJ (2013) Serosurveillance of orbiviruses in wild cervids from Spain. in The Veterinary record

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Belaganahalli MN (2015) Genetic characterization of the tick-borne orbiviruses. in Viruses

 
Description Reverse genetics (RG) technology for bluetongue virus (BTV) was successfully established in several partner laboratories, both in the UK and in other European countries.
These technologies have been used at TPI, to explore the genetic basis for the restriction of bluetongue virus type 26 infection and transmission by adult Culicoides. It was shown that four of the viral genome segments/proteins, restrict its infection or replication in insect-vector cells but not in mammalian cells .
The RG technology has also been used to explore any restrictions on the process of genome segment exchange (reassortment) between different BTV isolates. It was concluded that each genome segment can be freely exchanged between different virus lineages or genotypes.
The creation of an engineered BTV strain expressing a flourescent protein, was used to explore infection and replication of BTV in drosophila (in collaboration with the University of Glasgow) and forms the basis of a current collaborative Ph.D. project to explore BTV replication and transmission in adult Culicoides vector insects.
Exploitation Route The reverse genetics technologies established for BTV are being extended to other orbiviruses including African horse sickness virus (AHSV).

These technologies have been used by partners in the original ObiNet consotium to develop novel vaccine components/ strategies for BTV. These include a set of synthetic vaccine strains for the generation of inactivated vaccines against each BTV serotype (university of Glasgow). Disabled vaccine strains that can be used safely to vaccinate individual animals removing any risk of onward transmission and reducing the risk of reassortment with field strains were also developed by a partner in the Netherlands.

The identification of BTV genes that can restrict replication of the virus (BTV-26) in insect vectors suggests that there may be a genetic basis for the apparent restriction of certain BTV strains or serotypes to certain geographic regions (e.g. north and south Europe) , that could be based on the distribution of different insect vector species or populations.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

 
Description The reverse genetics sequencing and molecular technologies that were disseminated through this project have been used by project partners to develop novel vaccine components and strategies for bluetongue virus. The full utilisation of these novel materials will depend on vaccine trials and licensing, which can be lengthy processes in their own right.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic

 
Description "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" (PALE-Blu)
Amount € 6,300,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 727393-2 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 06/2016 
End 11/2020
 
Title BTVGlue 
Description BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The BTV Glue database is now available to assist in the rapid identification of novel bluetongue isolates based on genome sequence data 
URL https://www.researchgate.net/project/BTV-GLUE-an-online-database-to-support-surveillance-and-control...
 
Title Pale-Blu Web pages 
Description The PALE-Blu Web pages provide multiple data-sets concerning the distribution of arthropod vector species, the environment livestock and disease movement and distribution, Bluetongue epidemiology and research, as well as listing novel research papers and findings of the PALE-Blu consortium. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The PALE-Blu Website serves the partners in THE EU PALE-Blu consortium grant to provide information and access to research data and outcomes, concerning virus epidemiology, vaccinology and other aspect of their work concerning this important viral disease of livestock. The site also provides access to multiple data-sets concerning the environment, vector distribution, microbiomes, and ecosystems, most notably within Europe. 
URL https://www.paleblu.eu/
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD)
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation Complutense University of Madrid
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Country Kenya 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation Kafkas University
Country Turkey 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation Kimron Veterinary Institute
Country Israel 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation National Veterinary Institute
Country Sweden 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation The Pirbright Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation University Libre Bruxelles (Université Libre de Bruxelles ULB)
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Department MRC - University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department School of Veterinary Medicine and Science Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016
 
Description PALE-Blu H20:20 grant "Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus" 
Organisation Veterinary School of Alfort
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Peter Mertens is coordinator of the PALE-Blu H20:20 consortium. My group is also directly involved in most of the work packages that are included in the grant.
Collaborator Contribution Bluetongue is an economically important disease that since 1998 has invaded Europe, particularly southern and central countries. These changes are thought to be linked to climate change and appear unlikely to be reversed. The disease causes caused economic losses due to fatalities in livestock (>25% in sheep), loss of reproductive performance and milk/meat production, and restrictions in animal movements and trade. The PALE-Blu Project brings together 19 different Partner organisations in fifteen countries to generate data concerning the distribution and interaction of genetic variants of the bluetongue virus with insect vector and host populations to inform control and prevention strategies The project will analyse interactions between different virus strains, insect vectors and vertebrate hosts at the population, individual and molecular levels., Transmission mechanisms will be analysed to inform the ways in which risks can be evaluated, modelled and mitigated. In particular the project will identify and map different virus and vector populations and the environmental factors that determine their incidence and distribution to understand how genetic variations can determine transmission of different BTV serotype / strains in different regions. Databases will be created to help in the global identification of different BTV variants based on sequence analyses. The project will develop diagnostic assays to maintain and improve current diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. These will specifically include the recently identified 'novel' serotypes (BTV-25 upwards) to ensure that they can also be rapidly and sensitively detected. The project will seek to generate additional cell lines for European and Africa Culicoides species for further studies of transmission mechanisms and differences between different vector populations / species. Cross reactive antigens and epitopes will be identified for different BTV serotypes to develop safe multivalent or cross-reactive vaccines against different BTV serotypes The project will develop and maintain communication and project management through websites periodic meetings and publications / presentations to both scientific and lay audiences. BTV sequences have been collected, annotated and curated and introduced into the BTV-GLUE website. The beta version of the BTV-GLUE dataset is available via a public web server (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk). We are currently inserting an automated genotyping tool for all segments. A comprehensive database of Culicoides vector abundance, covering most of Europe and neighbouring countries, has been generated to define epizones with different insect vector populations. Livestock maps (cattle, sheep, and goats) updated to reflect 2010 have helped define epizones based on ecoclimatic data. Diagnostic tools for the novel BTV serotypes, as well as multiplexed assay systems are being developed and evaluated Primary cell lines for additional Culicoides species, have been developed and will be maintained in order to develop continuos cell lines. Rescued mono-reassortant BTV strains have been generated to explore the molecular basis for contact transmission and insect vector transmission as well as and other viral properties, including interactions with the innate immune response and inhibition by interferon. Antiviral activity of statin derivatives and calcium channel inhibitors, will be further explored Project outputs and data are being and will continue to be disseminated through one or more of the four websites that have been established or associated with the project: http://www.paleblu.eu/ : the general project website, which provides project details, presentations, publications and deliverables This includes the kick off project meeting in Glasgow 2017: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2017-09-06-MeetingReportFor1stPALE-BluMeetingCVRGlasgow-LR%20update.pdf and the 2nd meeting in Rabat 2018: http://www.paleblu.eu/system/files/2019-01/2018-09-19-20-2ndPALE-BluMeetingMorocco.pdf http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home : the project website which hosts datacentric software package which includes sequence data, genome annotations and bioinformatic analysis tools. See WP1 above https://www.edenextdata.com/: the project spatial data archive, see also WP3 above. http://mapserver.izs.it/gis_oiemaps/: a site which displays global BTV distributions. A newly developed haploid embryonic stem cell library, is being used to characterize cellular genes and pathways essential for productive BTV-8 infection.
Impact The BTV Glue database (http://btv.glue.cvr.ac.uk/#/home) Publications are in preparations from the PALE-Blu consortium Scientific meetings have been organised in Glasgow, Rabat and Brussels.
Start Year 2016