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Brussels, 16 December 2004

Technology Platform for Global Animal Health launched today

A Technology Platform on “Global Animal Health” was announced today by the European Commission. The technology platform, launched today at a conference on animal diseases in Brussels, is a partnership led by industry and supported by Development Commissioner Louis Michel, Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik and Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. The initiative is being set up to tackle major animal diseases in the developing world and in Europe.

Markos Kyprianou said: “Tackling animal diseases effectively benefits society as a whole, creating significant economic, social, environmental and ethical gains. The Global Technology Platform for Animal Health is an industry driven initiative which will create a partnership covering the whole chain, from innovation to delivery of new vaccines and tests. The platform will contribute to improving animal health and welfare, food safety, human health and market access, particularly by developing countries.

Janez Potočnik commented: “Europe has a proven record in research into transmissible animal diseases. Further research to develop better tools to prevent and control outbreaks in Europe and other parts of the world will be an important contribution of the scientific community to this technology platfom. New vaccines, diagnostics to confirm the existence of a virus and understanding the patterns of outbreak will be decisive to contain new epidemics and help to eradicate these diseases. This technology platform will enhance European competitiveness and scientific leadership in this area and contribute to the development of a strong European knowledge-based bioeconomy

Louis Michel commented: “This is a ‘win-win’ initiative for developing countries and Europe, bringing about poverty reduction and improved food safety for developing countries while protecting Europe from the introduction of animal diseases and opening up new markets.

The Global Animal Health Technology Platform

The EU is currently supporting research into major diseases of livestock in the Fifth and Sixth Research Framework Programmes such as foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza, classical swine fever, African swine fever, rinderpest, bluetongue. The research is mainly focused in particular on diagnostics tests, vaccines, epidemiology and biosafety.and wildlife reservoirs.

The animal health “Technology Platform” was launched today at a Dutch Presidency and DG SANCO conference on “Material and Immaterial Costs of Animal Disease Control” to define a common research agenda and mobilise a critical mass of resources, national and European, public and private, financial and scientific.

The platform brings together veterinary pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies, research institutions, the financial world and the regulatory authorities at the European level. The project will be industry driven to develop and deliver the most up-to-date tools, such as new vaccines or tests to control major animal diseases.

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