Project Title: “Establishment of a Western Asian Network for the Improvement of Biosecurity in the Caucasus Region”. German Federal Foreign Office, Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology (BwIM), 01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019.
a). Project Objectives:
The objective of the project is to expand the German-Georgian network, established in the first project phase, in the fields of the diagnosis of dangerous infectious diseases and biosecurity. During the first project phase (2014-2016), important contacts were made with the main partners at the NCDC as well as with the Ministries of Agriculture, Defence and Internal Affairs. Cooperation was established between the NCDC and the Ministry of Agriculture which will be expanded in the follow-on phase in order to continue to strengthen the "one health" concept and to introduce sustainable diagnostics. During the project NCDC will actively participate in the training of first responders in the Georgian security agencies who will be activated in case of an attack with biological agents. Finally, the partners in Georgia will be supported in the development of national reaction plans in case of any threats with biological agents
As part of a Doctoral student program, Georgian junior scientists will be trained in modern molecular-biological techniques for the detection and characterization of different pathogens, introduced to issues of infectiology as well as problems in the area of biosecurity.
b). Project Implementation:
Task 1: Awareness raising - Planning a field study to evaluate incidence of Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE) and leptospiroses in designated areas in Georgia.
Task 2: For awareness rising in areas of biosafety and biosecurity international standards seminars and workshops will be conducted on serological and molecular-biological laboratory modern methods and field epidemiology.
Task 3: Experience sharing in development of standardized diagnostic procedures of various pathogens and management of laboratory quality control.
Task 4: Diagnostics and detection – Establishment of cell culture in the lab with cell lines for orthopoxvirus diagnostics. Method validation using an example of anthrax (primer-probe design, internal control design for qPCR with validation schemes). Implementation of qPCR diagnostic for leptospira and other pathogens.
Task 5: Training of Georgian junior scientist according to the Doctoral student program. In frame of the project German partners will assist junior scientist for successful completion of doctoral thesis studies, for preparing publication in peer-reviewed journals and receiving doctoral degree.
c). Expected results:
The results of the research conducted in the context of German-Georgian project will regularly be presented at national and international conferences and congresses. Joint publications will be prepared and submitted in peer-reviewed journals by Georgian and German scientists participating in the program. Training of junior scientists, conducted field study, identification and characterization of pathogens will strengthen the laboratory capacity of NCDC and improve the surveillance system in Georgia.