Coordination by the OIE: The World Organisation for Animal Health places infectious diseases at the core of its mandate. The Organisation supports Veterinary Services in 181 Member Countries to be prepared to prevent and control the spread of animal-related diseases. The OIE’s Regional and Sub-Regional Representations, spanning five continents, effectively provide regionally customised services to its Members. All the countries participating in the project are Members of the OIE.
EBO-SURSY aligns with the OIE’s promotion of the “One Health” concept as a collaborative, global approach for understanding and acting upon risks at the human and animal health interface (including wildlife), as well as ecosystem health. Through this EU-funded project, the OIE is providing countries with external expertise to conduct epidemiological surveillance and is supporting countries’ involvement in assessments and training workshops to institutionalise national One Health collaboration.
CIRAD: Le Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD) is the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization dedicated to the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions. It is a public industrial and commercial enterprise under the joint authority of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is both a research institution and a recognised OIE Reference Laboratory.
CIRAD works hand-in-hand with local communities and the local environment, on complex, ever-changing issues, including food security, ecological intensification, emerging diseases and the future of agriculture in developing countries. Within the context of the EBO-SURSY project, CIRAD is studying the bat species suspected of being the natural maintenance hosts of the Ebola virus in order to better understand inter-species transmission mechanisms and the environmental factors likely to promote the emergence or re-emergence of EVD. Aiming to strengthen control over epidemics, CIRAD is working with local partners and populations to establish participatory surveillance systems that rapidly detect the emergence of EVD and other zoonotic diseases as well as to identify the human behaviours likely to facilitate the interspecies transmission of diseases.
IRD: A multi-disciplinary French public research establishment, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development takes an original approach to research, expertise, training and knowledge-sharing for the benefit of countries and regions, making science and innovation key drivers in their development. IRD researchers and their local partners, were previously involved in monitoring and enhancing the response capacity in Gabon, Congo, the DRC and Guinea to EVD outbreaks – developing significant institutional capacities in the process. Indeed, IRD has played a major role in training scientists throughout Africa and was also among the first to conduct studies on the role of wildlife in Ebola transmission to humans.
Research undertaken to date has allowed for the development of serological and molecular assays adapted to the screening of large sample sets. They are also collecting samples from wildlife, such as bats and bush meat, to screen for EVD infection in over 20,000 existing samples. IRD is also facilitating the collection of additional samples as well as coordinating field and laboratory studies, performing molecular biology and serology diagnosis, and developing a taxonomy of mammals (rodents and bats).
Institut Pasteur: The Institut Pasteur, a private foundation with officially recognized charitable status set up by Louis Pasteur in 1887 and inaugurated on November 14th, 1888, has been, for the past 130 years, an internationally renowned center for biomedical research with a network of 32 institutes worldwide. In the pursuit of its mission to prevent and fight against diseases in France and throughout the world, the Institut Pasteur operates in four main areas: scientific and medical research, public health and health monitoring, teaching, and business development and technology transfer.
The Institut Pasteur’s teams and partners (Dakar, Abidjan, Yaoundé, Bangui, Conakry,…) work on a number of zoonoses, focusing on their clinical, epidemiological and ecological aspects as well as diagnosis and viro-molecular characterization. In addition to Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers, its research, which brings together local actors during field missions and laboratory work both through the institutes of its International Network and the Institut Pasteur in Paris, also includes retroviruses like HTLV-1 and foamy viruses as well as certain arboviruses, hanta-viruses and monkey pox, among others. The Institut Pasteur’s work aims to enhance understanding of the epidemiological cycles of these viruses as well as the mechanisms of transmission not only between different animal species, but also from animals to humans and, of course, between humans. These data could be used to encourage local public health actors to support initiatives that reduce the impact of these zoonoses in the human and animal populations of affected regions.
The EBO-SURSY project partners work in synergy and collaborate with other organisations, such as the United States’ Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), through the World Bank’s REDISSE project, in order to develop ‘One health’ capacities and strengthen surveillance systems for EVD and other zoonotic pathogens in the target countries.