Initiation and maintenance of vector arthropod colonies, elucidation of vector-virus interactions and the inheritance of competence and refractoriness

Lead Research Organisation: The Pirbright Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


Unique colonies of several species of arthropod vectors are already maintained, with facilities available to expand into new arthropod groups or species as appropriate scientific opportunities arise. The current Culicoides colonies are vectors of important notifiable viruses including bluetongue virus and African horse sickness virus. The tick colonies are vectors of African swine fever virus. These resources enable the continuous provision of large numbers of individual vectors of known physiological state, thereby facilitating year-round research on the infection, replication and transmission of the study viruses by the vectors, and all aspects of virus-vector interactions. Also, the production by selective breeding of daughter colonies of individual vector species, each with a defined rate of oral susceptibility and transmission, and the sequencing of the genomes of individuals from such colonies, will provide unrivalled tools to investigate the inheritance and the genetic basis of susceptibility and refractoriness. These unique resources provide outstanding opportunities to promote multidisciplinary investigations (molecular, entomological, virological, genetic, modelling) and collaborations (both within and beyond IAH), and also facilitate training of colleagues at a range of levels from student to post-doctoral fellow.


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Description The grant has enabled a wide range of studies to be conducted on insecticidal efficacy of products for Culicoides biting midges. In addition, the replication of arboviruses such as BTV has been characterized and translated to policy tools. Culicoides have also been used in experimental studies to infect animals with a variety of pathogens as part of vaccine trials and studies of pathogenesis.
Exploitation Route Findings are being integrated into a wide range of outputs by both internal and external users (see publications).
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

Description This is a service grant to supply arthropods (primarily Culicoides biting midges) to workers within the Pirbright Institute and also to external partners for a variety of projects. During the course of the project several hundred thousand midges were supplied of two species: C. sonorensis and C. nubeculosus. The former were used in areas as diverse as virus infection studies and saliva collection while the latter were largely used for insecticide testing.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment
Impact Types Economic

Description European Biosecurity Talk, Ghent. Arthropod containment 15th May 2014. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Formal presentation about arthropod security measures. Follow up with advice given to other institutes and HSE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
Description International Congress of Entomology (Florida) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Chaired session and gave presentation on progress in Culicoides research. Largest ever meeting involving the Culicoides community with 100+ attendees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016