The main aim of this action is to establish a transboundary network of partners and institutions across Europe to cost effectively address the management of the risk of introduction and spread of Exotic Invasive Aedes Mosquito Borne Viruses (EAIMBV; e.g. dengue, DENV; yellow fever, YFV; chikungunya, CHIKV; Japanese encephalitis, JEV, and ZIKAV). To do this using both conventional and innovative methods, strong linkage between academics, public health (PH) professionals and policy-makers at the national and international level, as well as more a integrated private sector and a better informed and engaged society. The action will facilitate a co-ordinated multidisciplinary research approach to identify and fill knowledge gaps, enhance research effectiveness, standardise, optimise and promote new country-tailored surveillance and control procedures, and improve dissemination of information on the risk caused by invasive Aedes mosquitoes.
RESEARCH COORDINATION OBJECTIVES (1-10)
The following coordination objectives will be implemented by two integrated Working Groups:
- systematically review of current methodologies and practices to sample, monitor and identify Aedes invasive mosquitoes (AIMs), as well as for data analysis and for mathematical/statistical/ computational modelling, and establishment of pros and cons and cost-effectiveness of alternative approaches (including citizen science community based ones) under different climatic/ecological and epidemiological scenarios (Working Group 1, Task 1);
- transfer of knowledge on most cost-effective AIM monitoring/surveillance approaches to less experienced stakeholders to promote and harmonize monitoring/surveillance and data sharing approaches and assure comparable outputs needed to provide active monitoring surveillance beyond country/region barriers (WG1.2);
- promotion of studies to identify research needs for the development of novel monitoring/surveillance approaches (with particular reference to citizen science community based ones) (WG1.3);
- production of guidelines containing recommendations for best practice sampling, surveillance, spatial modelling and map output production, taking into account the needs of the stakeholders by assessing the outputs from the perspective of both producers and end-users (e.g. PH officers, the public) in order to ensure the maximum integration and impact at the EU level and beyond (WG1.4)
- systematically review of AIM control methodologies impleemented across CCs/NCCs and establishment of pros and cons and cost-effectiveness of alternative approaches (including citizen science community based ones) under different climatic/ecological/cociological and epidemiological scenarios (WG2.1);
- transfer of knowledge on most cost-effective, locally tailored and sustainable AIM control methods to less experienced stakeholders, and promotion of data sharing (WG2.2);
- identification and promotion of most relevant of studies to develop novel evidence-based AIM-control interventions (including citizen science community based ones) with the involvement of innovative Companies, im order to pave the way toward development of novel/improved control tools (WG2.3).
CAPACITY BUILDING OBJECTIVES (1-10)
- Creating a Pan-European multidisciplinary network of scientists with common background on AIM bionomics, surveillance and control in order to identify and develop innovative research concepts and ideas and to promote the implementation of optimised/innovative monitoring/control campaigns projects in synergy with international Organizations in the fields of surveillance and control of mosquito and mosquito-borne diseases.
- Nurturing a new generation of medical entomologists with inter-disciplinary expertise on AIM related activities and international collaborative perspectives, and able to maintain & improve expertise and capacity to prevent or control AIMs and related health risks in Europe and beyond.
- Creating a synergistic relationship between scientists private companies, citizen scientists and decision-makers across Europe and beyond for the implementation of best practices and innovative tools in local AIM and EAIMBV surveillance/monitoring and control campaigns in order to overcome present fragmentation in knowledge and interventions and eventually improve health and well-being in Europe and beyond. This will involve each sector learning new skills and perspectives.
- Raising public awareness of AIMs, related health risks and control options to obtain a more informed consensus on preventive Citizen Science community-based interventions, as well as on possible innovative control approaches to be implemented under different epidemiological scenarios.
- Jointly refining, optimizing, customising and delivering guidelines and protocols for AIM surveillance/monitoring/control in conjunction with international Organizations and Public Health end-users to promote their implementation at national and local scales.
AIM-COST Action potential impacts
Scientific impact: i) development of research synergies and definition of novel research priorities in the VBD field by integration of west/east-European and NNC research communities with a common interest on AIM’s bionomics in temperate areas but little/no history of collaboration; ii) ToK from Countries and research groups with experience of established AIM populations to those without such experience iii) helping establish a new generation of highly-qualified scientists trained to deal with invasive vectors beyond country boundaries.
Technological impact: i) optimisation/standardization of AIM collection/control approaches across Europe and beyond by integration of west-/east-European and NNC research/PH communities with a common interest in the surveillance and control of AIMs in temperate areas but with little/no history of collaboration; ii) development/optimization of more affordable tools, methodologies and approaches to collect and control AIMs which could be effectively implemented also in lower-income countries, by critical review of shared data; iii) translation and surveillance and control research and analyses into actual products/methodologies by means of the promotion of links between research groups, PH-professionals and private companies in the sector.
Socio-economic impact: i) improved of cost-effectiveness of surveillance/control interventions against AIMs and associated health risks in Europe and beyond, by production of customised guidelines for surveillance/control and for modelling outputs by means of integration of AIM-COST research groups and stakeholders (e.g. policy/decision-makers, public users); ii) education of the civil society on AIM health associated risk, as well as on best practice to prevent AIM reproduction; iii) direct involvement of the civil society in cost-effective monitoring activities (e.g. by smart phone applications) as an alternative to more skill-intensive and expensive surveys; Iv) improvement of health and well-being in Europe and beyond, by reducing risk of EAIMBV and mosquito nuisance.