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Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Two European partnerships on animal health and welfare and medical solutions to CBRN threats, with the participation of the UAB

22 Mar 2024
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Researchers from four health science departments of the UAB are part of two recently launched partnership projects, promoted by the European Union through the Horizon Europe Programme and the European Defence Fund. On the one hand, EUPAHW, which aims to promote research in animal health and welfare and collaboration with other agents of society from the perspectives of one health and one welfare. On the other hand, RESILIENCE, which will research and develop new medical solutions against potential chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.

Recerca al laboratori. Imaatge: Istockphoto

The EU partnerships aim to implement joint calls to provide support to transnational technological cooperation projects in strategic topics of high European added value. The presence of the UAB in two of these projects demonstrates, once again, the expertise of its research teams in areas of research vital to today's society such as one health and medical and health security against potential threats with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) products.

One health, one welfare

The European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare (EUPAHW) is one of the most ambitious initiatives of the European Commission in recent years. With a global investment of €360 M  and a duration of more than 7 years, it will promote research, innovation and transfer in animal production health and welfare, with the involvement of all actors in this field and of society itself, through collaborative processes under the perspective of the one health and one welfare concepts.

The EUPAHW has more than 90 members, including research institutions, universities and funding agencies from different countries, and is coordinated by the University of Ghent. It is based on a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) generated with a previous co-creation work of more than two years, and combines 17 actions to be carried out in the next three years with more strategic and long-term actions, such as its own programme for generating external calls for projects.

The consortium aims to improve the knowledge of infectious and parasitic diseases in terrestrial and aquatic animals, both on farms and in their environments, and, in particular, to address aspects related to risk assessment, biosecurity, disease resilience, immune system and relationships with the microbiome of animals, new therapeutic strategies, responsible use of drugs, minimisation of generation of microbial resistance, improvement of animal welfare and global impact of diseases.

The UAB is present in 9 of the 17 actions, with researchers from four departments, grouped in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, which demonstrates and reinforces the international positioning of the UAB in the field of animal health and welfare.

Participating in the partnerships are the Research Group on Ecosystem and Aquatic Animal Health, under the coordination of Francesc Padrós, from the Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology; the Research Group on Communicable Diseases in Animal Health, with Laila Darwich and Alberto Allepuz, from the Department of Animal Health and Anatomy as coordinators; the Wildlife Conservation Medicine Research Group, coordinated by Òscar Cabezón, from the Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, and the Animal Welfare Group, coordinated by Pol Llonch, from the Department of Animal and Food Science.

Medical countermeasures to CBRN threats

The RESILIENCE partnership is a European strategic alliance for research, development and innovation of relevant medical and healthcare solutions to potential CBRN threats. Currently, very few medical countermeasures are approved and available for implementation by European governments. The new initiative aims to build a collaborative European ecosystem to address these security challenges, particularly when they are intentional in origin.

RESILIENCE brings together research institutes, universities, research and transfer organisations, hospitals, industries and small and medium-sized enterprises, which will work under a multi-year action plan established together with the competent European authorities. The resulting solutions should serve to improve the EU's CBRN crisis preparedness and protect sovereignty, develop autonomous European industrial segments and maintain capacity on the ground.

The consortium's action plan will be structured around three pillars: diagnosis, prevention-prophylaxis and treatment, with the aim of developing innovative diagnostic tools for use in the field, new vaccines and more effective treatments.

The Group of Molecular Studies of Cancer and the Effects of Ionizing Radiation (RADiCAN), of the Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology, under the coordination of Francesc Barquinero, participates in the alliance in the field of early diagnosis of the effects of nuclear radiation on human health.