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The largest ever One Health project funded by the EU's Horizon 2020
The One Health European Joint Programme (OHEJP) aims to improve cooperation between the veterinary, human and environmental areas in a "One Health" perspective. The main goal is to achieve better health for both humans and animals through research into infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans via food (food-borne zoonoses), as well as antibiotic resistance and emerging health threats.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health will be involved in developing new methods and tools for infection surveillance so that food-borne disease outbreaks can be detected earlier. We are also working on developing new systems to be able to collaborate and co-ordinate data on infectious agents from both humans and animals, nationally and internationally with EU agencies such as ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) as everyone is involved in these projects.
One of the data sources that has been used and further developed in this program is the Institute's monitoring system «Sykdomspulsen». This was established to monitor infectious diseases through diagnoses made by general practitioners and out-of-hours medical services throughout Norway. This system has been recently further developed and expanded to monitor COVID-19 and contains several data sources.
Increasing transmission between animals and humans
It is estimated that as much as 60 per cent of all human viruses and bacteria can be transmitted from animals to humans. All new and rapidly growing diseases are zoonotic, making up 75 per cent of all communicable diseases.
- Zoonoses (WHO)
In OHEJP, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute work closely with 38 other institutions from 19 countries in Europe with a total budget of almost 90 million Euros. This makes it one of the largest One Health projects in Europe.
The health of animals and humans is intertwined
This large One-Health EJP involves experts from many countries in Europe representing both the human and animal health. Seven of the nine projects that the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has received support for are collaborative projects with the Norwegian Veterinary Institute.
The first four projects under OHEJP began in 2018
- NOVA (Novel approaches for design and evaluation of cost-effective surveillance across the food chain) is a research project that combines and compiles veterinary and human data to improve the monitoring of zoonoses and the investigation of food and waterborne outbreaks. Through its collaborative structure, the project is expected to promote the use of modern monitoring principles throughout Europe. Furthermore, the further developed systems will have practical and cost-saving effects on how monitoring of existing and new zoonotic agents is carried out in the EU. In the project, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health's experts will map monitoring of food chains, analyse food purchase data and build on existing syndromic monitoring.
- MoMIR-PPC (Monitoring the gut microbiota and immune response to predict, prevent and control zoonoses in humans and livestock in order to minimise the use of antimicrobials) is a research project that investigates ways to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that infect animals people through food consumption. MoMIR's main goal is to improve sustainability and safe trade in the EU industry by providing information and tools that lead to control of the bacteria on the farm. In this project, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health will focus on risk factors associated with long-term excretion of salmonella in humans.
- ORION (One health surveillance initiative on harmonisation of data collection and interpretation) develops systems (platforms) to be able to integrate information about infectious agents (isolates, sequences) from both animals and humans. The project aims to establish and strengthen collaboration and interdisciplinary knowledge transfer within monitoring data integration and interpretation. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is part of the “OHS Knowledge Hub” where the goal is to create an overview of domains of available data sources, methods / algorithms / tools, which support the generation of OH monitoring data, data analysis, modelling and decision support.
- COHESIVE (One Health Structure in Europe) is a project that aims to develop sustainable One Health approaches. The project focuses on developing monitoring systems that will be able to detect new threats / dangers (‘Early signalling’) as soon as possible, better methods for risk assessments, and co-ordination of monitoring activities and monitoring data on the public and animal health side. In the project, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health contributes to integrated risk analysis at a national level, works towards an EU zoonosis structure and contributes to the development of a data platform to facilitate risk analysis and outbreak control.
The next five projects began in 2020
- BeOne: Building Integrative Tools for One Health Surveillance: will develop an integrated monitoring panel where molecular and epidemiological data for food-borne pathogens can be analysed, visualised and interpreted by relevant experts across disciplines and sectors interactively. Surveillance of food-borne infections and detection / investigation of outbreaks are handled primarily at national or regional level with several institutions / parties spanning different sectors and disciplines. The continuous increase in the complexity of data to be analysed and integrated, e.g. epidemiological and genomic data, as well as the need for international cooperation to solve outbreaks in several countries, increases the need for informatics tools that can allow integration of the different types of data and facilitate their visualisation and interpretation. The project will bring us beyond the latest technology by developing a tailored monitoring system, which enables consistent definition of outbreaks across domains and countries using new algorithms based on integrated genomic and epidemiological data, as well as simplifies communication and flexible data sharing. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health contributes to the project with testing and feedback of the new system.
- DiSCoVer: Discovering the sources of Salmonella, Campylobacter, VTEC and antimicrobial resistance. This project brings together experts from different disciplines (microbiology, bioinformatics and epidemiology) and sectors (veterinary science, food safety, public health and environmental health) from 19 institutions in 13 European countries to a unique consortium to address the challenges of source allocation in an interdisciplinary manner. Since there is no gold standard for source allocation, we will take a comprehensive approach by applying several different methods and models in a comparative way.
The project will map existing knowledge gaps and recommend new studies and methods to fill them. The work will start with mapping existing data and establishing a common data sharing platform for the project partners. We will include data from a wide range of sources, including those that are not traditionally part of existing monitoring and surveillance activities, e.g. pets (including reptiles), wildlife and environmental sources.
The work will also focus on cataloguing, evaluating and developing existing methods for source allocation and developing methods for critical assessment of source allocation models. New approaches to source allocation will also be explored, developed and evaluated. Existing approaches that will be examined include microbial subtyping, meta-analysis of case-control studies and outbreak data, and risk assessment-based methods. The estimates for source attribution will focus on three pathogens (Salmonella, Campylobacter and STEC) and AMR.
- MATRIX: Connecting dimensions in One-Health surveillance aims to promote the implementation of One Health Surveillance (OHS) in practice, by building on existing resources, adding value to them and creating synergies between the sectors. In particular, to identify and describe existing cross sectoral OHS programmes or potential programmes, extend the efforts to existing integrative OHEJP projects focusing on separate or only two sectors (veterinary and human).
The previous integrative projects were funded to strengthen co-operation and communication at the end of the monitoring continuum in each sector. MATRIX makes use of this link by strengthening the monitoring practice throughout the monitoring process, from implementation to production, reviewing existing structures, and proposing guidelines for either adapting new or improving existing OHS collaborations.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health participates in several work packages with a focus on existing frameworks and transparency capacity, best practice and multi-sectoral collaboration, outreach and roadmaps, and especially in Work Package 6 where we will develop dashboards for decision-making and collaboration.
- OH-HARMONY-CAP: One Health Harmonisation of Protocols for the Detection of Foodborne Pathogens and AMR Determinants: aims to gather information on current capabilities, capacity and interoperability at both the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) and the primary diagnostic level. The quantitative description of current and best practices and the development of harmonised protocols will identify and possibly close the gaps and propose future studies on how best to detect and characterise foodborne pathogens across the One Health sectors. A global strategic overview of laboratory capacity in the animal feed field, provided by EULabCap, will be provided, updated and expanded.
The project will develop and test an OHLabCap study at NRL level in all EU / EEA countries, followed by an adjusted OHLabCap study of the primary diagnostic laboratories in countries identified during the first study. It will focus on six high-priority bacteria, ten high-priority parasites and AMR for Salmonella and Campylobacter. The project will also quantify current practice and describe procedures and methods for the detection of foodborne pathogens and AMR for Salmonella and Campylobacter. After review, we will produce recommendations and guidelines on how to improve the quantitative data on foodborne pathogens. The focus will also be on selected bacteria and parasites. We will collect, analyse and rank current protocols according to their ability to detect model organisms Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) / enterotoxin producing E. coli (ETEC) and Cryptosporidium.
Specific protocols of the highest quality will be designed to be tested, and will test the developed protocols in internships, and through E-learning, and include training in how to organise national networks and exercises in communication at both national and EU / EEA levels.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health participates in two work packages where we contribute to the development of a benchmarking instrument “OHLabCap” and the development and implementation of harmonised protocols for detection and entry of model organisms and AMR determinants.
- TOXOSOURCES: Toxoplasma gondii sources quantified is a unique international collaboration with optimal complementary expertise on the zoonotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii at the interface between humans, animals, food and the environment.
The TOXOSOURCES project will address the research question - What are the relative contributions to the different sources of T. gondii infection? - to use several interdisciplinary approaches and new and improved methods to provide the most robust estimates possible that can inform risk management and decision makers.
The main results of TOXOSOURCES are quantitative estimates of the contribution from the main sources and transmission routes of T. gondii infection based on improved source allocation models, new data that fill the key to knowledge of the role of increasingly popular but uneducated edible (RTE) fresh ingredients, a new serological method aimed at specifically detecting infections caused by oocysts, and a new type method to improve preparedness to detect the introduction of atypical T. gondii strains at import and trace the sources of infection in outbreaks.
All results are integrated to help develop effective interventions at national, regional, European and global levels. TOXOSOURCES will have an immediate and long-term social impact, and has the potential, ability and ambition to advance science.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is involved in two project assignments that focus on exposure research and human prevalence.