EU allocates $17 million to fight E. coli and epidemics

August 9th, 2011 - 9:26 pm ICT by BNO News  

BRUSSELS (BNO NEWS) — The European Union (EU) on Tuesday announced that its Commission has decided to allocate an additional €12 million ($17 million) to fight pathogens such as Escherichia coli (E.coli) bacteria that recently infected close to 4,000 people in Europe and killed 46.

The funds come from the EU’s Research Framework Program and this autumn, a cross-border consortium called ‘ANTIcipating the Global Onset of Novel Epidemics’ (ANTIGONE) will start work on research aimed at getting a wider scientific picture of the new E. coli strain, as well as other virulent pathogens that could pose a threat to human health.

Approximately €2.1 million ($2.98 million) will be specifically dedicated to the research, which will focus on ways to prevent future epidemics and deal with new outbreaks. Fourteen partners from seven different countries are planned to participate in ANTIGONE, which will gather specific expertise on a broad range of viruses and bacteria, including Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC).

In recent months, Germany endured one of the largest outbreaks of haemolytic uremic syndrome and bloody diarrhea caused by E. coli, also referred to as STEC. As of July 27, 46 people have died from STEC, 45 of them in Germany, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

With the allocation of the additional €12 million ($17 million) to this research, the ANTIGONE project will be able to fund its research on STEC, as well as other bacteria and viruses, such as Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, SARS, plague, Q-fever, among others.

The project will also include a “flexibility clause” that allows for a quick response to any future unexpected human epidemic threat without the need for the Commission to issue a new call for proposals.

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