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Work Packages (WPs)

ECHINO-SAFE-MED is divided into 5 inter-linked Work Packages (WP) to achieve its aims and objectives. All the scientific and administrative activities will be coordinated by the project management (WP5).

WP1: Development and harmonisation of sustainable innovative tools and standardize operating procedures for the diagnosis of cystic echinococcosis in sheep.

Work package Leader: UNINA (Italy)

Objective: to develop and harmonize novel diagnostic tools that are in different stages of Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) for the diagnosis of cystic echinococcosis in sheep to be used in endemic countries.

Description of work

WP1 will develop and validate improved, easy-to-use diagnostic tools for CE diagnosis in sheep to be used in surveillance and control approaches that are amenable to field settings, to allow for rapid, on-site detection of CE in sheep. The new tools developed will be ring tested by European partners in sheep farms located in European Mediterranean areas highly endemic for CE, namely central-southern Italy and northern-central Greece. Comparison of the performance and cost-effectiveness of the different diagnostic techniques will be performed and standardised protocols for the newly developed techniques will be established to be applied also in other Mediterranean endemic regions, such as Algeria and Tunisia.



WP2: Surveillance activities for CE in the Mediterranean area



Work package Leader: ANSES (France)

Objective: to perform active surveillance in sheep farms, located in endemic regions of the Mediterranean area, in order to obtain data on the parasite infection levels and to be able to target control strategies for CE.


Description of work


WP2 will improve CE surveillance activities in four countries of the Mediterranean area highly endemic for CE (Algeria, Greece, Italy and Tunisia) in order to obtain data on the parasite infection levels and to be able to target control strategies for CE. In order to improve the CE surveillance activities, in WP2, meetings will be set-up with the local participating vets and national sheep farmer’s organizations to collect information on common practices per country/region and assess the farmers’ attitude towards sustainable helminth control and their potential adoption for novel diagnostics and novel concepts of CE control. A multi-scale spatial sampling, based on the use of the Geographical Information Systems (GIS), will be developed to select the sheep farms in the pilot areas. In addition, the GIS for the study areas will be implemented utilizing the climatic and environmental variables as datalayers. This will be used to develop cost-efficient sustainable sampling strategies, and multi-scale spatio-temporal models for CE occurrence, including the impact of climate change. Surveillance activities will be carried out in selected sheep farms and will be performed both in sheep and dogs, in order to obtain baseline levels of CE infection. The results obtained from the surveillance activities will be analyzed and matched to select the sheep farms in which the control plans will be carried out (WP3). Attention will be given to ensure comparable farms to be selected, representing the most common farming systems per country (farm size, management, etc). In addition, special care will be given to understand the micro-epidemiology of echinococcosis, using GPS dataloggers, in order to apply strategic control activities in the sheep farms selected (WP3).




WP3: Vaccination of lambs and treatment of dogs to control CE in the pilot areas



Work package Leader: ENMV (Tunisia)

Objectives: (i) to evaluate new protocols based on vaccination of lambs with the EG95 recombinant vaccine and treatment of shepherd dogs to reduce the level of parasite transmission (ii) to deworm stray dogs or other canids present in grazing areas through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the distribution of baits laced with praziquantel in order to interrupt the Echinococcus lifecycle.


Description of work

In WP3, innovative control strategies will be applied in the pilot areas identified in WP2. The sheep farms involved in the study will be allocated in three different groups, corresponding to three different treatment strategies. Specifically, in order to evaluate the impact of the vaccination of lambs (using the recombinant EG95 vaccine) and /or of the treatment of dogs with praziquantel on the reduction of CE, each group will be subjected to (i) only vaccination, (ii) only treatment of dogs and (iii) a combination of both sheep vaccination and dog treatment. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccination, two different protocols will be tested simultaneously within the same farms. Furthermore, an innovative strategy based on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be implemented to treat stray canids in the grazing areas identified by GPS dataloggers in WP2. Finally, the impact of the new strategies developed will be assessed.




WP4: Capacity building, dissemination, exploitation and communication activities

Work package Leader: VRI-HAO (Greece)

Objectives: (i) to conduct capacity-building and training activities to secure adequate expertise within surveillance and control measures for CE, and the methods and tools applied throughout the project; (ii) to establish an effective dissemination, exploitation and communication strategy ensuring an effective scientific dissemination and optimum communication of the findings to end-users, stakeholders and authorities.

Description of work

In WP4, ECHINO-SAFE-MED partners will develop a number of stakeholder activities, including workshops and electronic course materials. Targeted training will also be provided for enrolled PhD students and Post-Doc (including specific secondments) with respect to research management, data collection methods and analysis, research dissemination as well as development, implementation and coordination of all generic and specialized training, communication and dissemination activities. Activities of training and capacity building will facilitate the exchange of key staff members from one laboratory to another in order to enhance cohesion and implementation of project activities, share skills, expertise and reagents, including transfer of methodologies. Particular attention will be devoted to the training of young early career scientists. Individual consortium members will also actively engage with the farming community and the livestock industry in their respective countries to promote knowledge exchange activities. WP4 will also provide for the efficient dissemination of results. Information flow and dissemination within ECHINO-SAFE-MED consortium will be facilitated by a dedicated website portal for consortium members. Dissemination to a wider scientific community, general public and potential users of the results and recommendations generated by WP1-WP3 will be facilitated through the public accessible part of the website, peer reviewed scientific publications, through presentations at national and international conferences, professional publications, press and other media releases, social media dissemination, educational materials (brochures, posters, gadgets and videos), reports, maps, booklets.   


Time frame