The research performed by CODA-CERVA is purpose-oriented research, which supports the Belgian science policy with respect to animal health and the safety of the food chain.
This research is part of the reference laboratory missions and therefore aims at improving the scientific and technical levels of services performed by CODA-CERVA and in other laboratories involved in analyses for monitoring animal health or the quality of the food chain.
The different research programmes are grouped together into the following topics:
Three types of research programmes must be distinguished, which are connected to each other, but each with a different angle of approach.
Background research groups together the projects which must be performed by CODA-CERVA within the scope of its essential missions, including those of the reference laboratory, that is to say the scientific evaluation of the ground situation and the adaptation of the methods to this development. This activity also enables new leads to be explored within the scope of CODA-CERVA mission, and to collect together enough elements so as to submit a project for external financing where necessary. These programmes are performed by CODA-CERVA permanent staff and its Juridical Personality. Their orientation is subjected to approval from CODA-CERVA Scientific Council.
Contractual research is a more detailed research of certain aspects of the background research. It is financed by external funds originating, amongst others, from the European Union, the Federal Public Service, Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment (FPS) "contractual research" cell, the Belgian Science Policy, Communities and Regions, the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) (Belgian national fund for scientific research), CODA-CERVA Juridical Personality or from private partners.
As a federal scientific establishment researching grounded and fast scientific answers for federal powers, the research credits of federal origin must preferably be available so as to improve the quality of the services provided.
Epidemiological monitoring and risk analysis
These monitoring programmes are mostly complementary to the background research projects. They are approved by the FASFC (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain)-FPS-CODA-CERVA consulting committee and performed by CCVD (Belgian coordination centre for veterinary diagnosis) associates, supported by CODA-CERVA staff.
The main monitoring programmes support FASFC actions in the field and relate to different significant animal illnesses such as salmonellosis, TSE diseases, swine fever, Avian Influenza, bluetongue, etc.
These monitoring programmes rely on results from analyses performed by CODA-CERVA or in Dierengezondheidszorg Vlaanderen (DGZ Vlaanderen) and ARSIA (Association Régionale de Snaté et d'Identification Animales) screening centres.
Indeed, upon request from FASFC and within the scope of ongoing struggles in the field, CCVD veterinarians are performing analyses and statistics relating to the prevalence of animal illnesses. Databanks such as SANITEL are indispensable tools for this work. The most common techniques used are monitoring and surveillance of animal illnesses, decision aid systems, risk analyses and biostatistics.
The studies are performed on a macro-epidemiological scale. They often call on serological analyses and only take into account the parameters that have an impact on one single pathogenic agent (seropositivity, type of use, vaccination method).
Finally, CODA-CERVA also dedicates itself to studying new animal illnesses, to epidemiology and risk analysis for animal illnesses, mainly those with a direct or indirect impact on human health, as well as studying the role of wildlife in spreading these diseases. In this context, CODA-CERVA is currently developing an online national reporting strategy for new health problems ((re)emerging illnesses) in conjunction with FASFC, regional screening centres and the university faculties concerned.
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