GALVmed representatives Jeremy Salt and Mark Rweyemamu are this week attending a meeting in Vienna, Austria, to launch the Peste des petits ruminants Global Research and Expertise Network (PPR-GREN). The PPR-GREN network was established and endorsed in 2015 to support a global strategy to eradicate PPR.
Peste des petits ruminants,or simply known as PPR, was first identified in Côte d’Ivoire in 1942 but has continued to spread at an alarming rate affecting more than 70 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East. Over 80 percent of the world’s sheep and goat populations are at risk causing annual economic losses of up to USD 2.1 billion (OIE).
The PPR-GREN network, spearheaded by FAO and OIE, has been tasked with the goal of promoting and initiating an integrated, comprehensive research and expertise network that capitalizes upon synergies to eliminate the threat of PPR. The elimination of this disease will improve the livelihoods, food security and health of people nationally, regionally and globally.
Some of the specific roles of the network include identifying and prioritising research opportunities within the strategic needs of the PPR Global Eradication Programme and building strong partnerships between researchers and technical bodies, regional organisations and well-recognised experts and development partners; advocacy at national, regional and international levels; promoting strategic and multi-disciplinary research to better understand PPR as well as share new findings and experiences; disseminating new knowledge about the virus and the disease, together with improved methods of control to significantly accelerate the progressive control and eradication of PPR, including thermos-tolerant vaccines, DIVA vaccines and their accompanying diagnostic assays, or combined vaccines against several diseases. This is the role where GALVmed is expected to contribute.
Other roles are encouraging more research in the field of epidemiology, diagnostic assays, socio-economics, and delivery systems; contributing to capacity building on improved understanding of PPR issues through existing evidence and/or generation of new knowledge; and serving as a communication and technology sharing gateway for the PPR-GEP.
The meeting which is currently taking place (17-19th April 2018) is expected to lay the foundations for building strong partnerships between researchers, research institutes, regional organizations and development partners; agree on the terms of reference (ToR) and elect the Bureau of the PPR-GREN; update on the PPR GEP implementation progress and ongoing PPR research activities and to discuss and build consensus regarding mid-term priority research opportunities and needs within the strategic needs of the PPR-GEP.
Watch video by OIE on how protecting sheep and goats from PPR improve livelihoods.