A zoonotic disease (or zoonosis) is an infectious disease that is transmissible from animals to humans. Zoonosis such as SARS, MERS and most recently COVID-19 are occurring at an increasing frequency in Europe and other regions of the world, as a consequence of several driving factors (e.g. climate change, travel, trade). It becomes crucial to rapidly develop medical intervention tools for animals and humans.
This implies to accelerate all phases of the current chain of processes leading to efficient intervention strategies (based on vaccine or neutralizing antibody for example), without downgrading the quality of the work carried out to:
- Identify the pathogen responsible of the disease
- Select the best available therapeutics for animals and humans (efficiency against the disease, possibility to produce large quantities under short timelines). The considered therapeutics are typically vaccines (e.g. non-infectious fragment of pathogens) for animals or humans, and neutralizing antibodies for humans…
- Test efficacy and safety of the therapeutics
- Produce the therapeutics
- Obtain approval from regulatory agencies based on safety and efficacy results
The IMI funded ZAPI Project aims at developing a general methodology that can be used for the rapid characterization of pathogens and the design and surge production of therapeutics (vaccines for animals and neutralizing antibodies for Humans) against emerging pathogens, in particular viruses. The ZAPI project will also propose to regulatory authorities and policy makers, recommendations in order to approve, in a sanitary emergency context, safe and efficient therapeutics developed using this methodology. To achieve these objectives, ZAPI works on representative models of currently emerging infectious pathogens (Bunyaviruses, i.e. Rift Valley Fever Virus (RVFV) and Schmallenberg Virus (SBV), and coronaviruses, i.e. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus MERS-CoV (betacoronavirus)), to demonstrate the applicability of this approach toward future emerging viruses.
The ZAPI program is the first true “One Health” project within the scope of IMI. It gathers world public and private experts from 5 countries, committed towards this common goal, in both animal health and human health fields.
After running for 6 years the ZAPI project will present during this Final Stakeholders Global Meeting, an overview of the main findings and key learnings from the ZAPI project partnership’s experience for improving our One Health preparedness status for facing effectively future pandemics.