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Integrated genomic surveillance of zoonotic pathogens (IGS-Zoo)

01/2019-12/2021

This third-party funded project is conducted in the framework of the BfR research programme on human, animal and environmental health (One Health).

Support programme of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG): Zoonotic infectious diseases and pathogens with specific resistances

BMG grant number: ZMVI1-2518FSB706

Project homepage: -

Project description:

In the project "Integrated Genomic Surveillance of Zoonotic Agents (IGS-Zoo)", a concept for integrated genomic surveillance in Germany will be developed and tested on the example of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia. coli (STEC). From the outset, the focus will be on connecting the different sectors of the health system (human and veterinary / food monitoring) and their close links to the Public Health Service (ÖGD). The IGS-Zoo consortium consists of partners at the University of Münster (UKM), the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Lower Saxony State Health Office (NLGA). Associated partner will be the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (LAVES ).

Five main areas of work are to be worked on:

1) Using a systematic questionnaire, an inventory of available typing methods for zoonotic pathogensand the actually applied pathogen differentiation is carried out in the context of the chosen setting (lead partner: BfR and RKI).

2) Factors are identified that favor or hinder the conduct of an appropriate typing (RKI and BfR).

3) Standards of integrated genomic surveillance are developed for the use by the ÖGD and data harmonization standards are developed. Here the technical and legal framework conditions are examined (lead partner: UKM). In addition, existing 'open source' and commercial software solutions for genomic surveillance will be evaluated for their usabilityand a prototypic database will be implemented.

4) Best practice examples of the use of integrated genomic surveillance are identified in the context of the cooperation of federal surveillance authorities in veterinary regulatory, food control and ÖGD. Here for example ring trials (lead partner: RKI), the development of screening assays for outbreak clones and a prospective sequencing of selected STEC pathogens are planned (lead partner: UKM). In addition, appropriate work instructions and guidelines are to be created and - by the use of psychological methods ("human-centered design approach") - the usability of, for example, findings are to be evaluated (UKM).

5) Finally, basic materials (eg training concepts) will be developed to support the introduction of integrated genomic surveillance in the ÖGD, and training for health authorities will be conducted with genomic surveillance exercises (lead partner: NLGA). Additionally, an international conference on integrated surveillance will be organized.

Overall, the project will develop a template for the integrated genomic surveillance of zoonotic pathogens by the example of STEC for Germany, which can then be used equally for other pathogens.

Project partners:

  • Universitätsklinikum Münster, Konsiliarlabor für HUS
  • Robert Koch-Institut
  • Niedersächsiches Landesgesundheitsamt (NLGA)

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