Towards an integrated surveillance of potential zoonotic Betacoronaviruses in the wild animal value chains of Cambodia
“Towards an integrated surveillance of potential zoonotic Betacoronaviruses in the wild animal value chains of Cambodia”
Betacoronaviruses were responsible for three major epidemics worldwide over the last two decades (the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – SARS in 2002-2003, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – MERS that emerged in 2012, and the current COVID-19 pandemic), involving viral spillover at the human/animal interface. In Cambodia, wet markets represent a major supply of animal products, and wild meat consumption is prevalent. This practice raises a major safety issue: the potential transmission of pathogens from animal to humans.
ZooCoV is an operational research project funded by the French Research Agency and coordinated by the CIRAD to better understand and thus, prevent the risk of emergence of new viruses, and particularly Betacoronaviruses, in human populations of Cambodia. This project proposes a One-Health, cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary approach associating medical sciences, ecology, epidemiology and social sciences. It aims to provide knew knowledge on wild meat trade chains in these 2 Provinces, document the prevalence and diversity of betacoronaviruses circulating through these chains, and identify predictors of infection in wildlife and of exposure in human at this particular animal/human interface. Additionally, a socio-anthropological study will allow to document and understand practices and perception of risk around bushmeat consumption and their evolution regarding past crisis (SARS, H5N1) and the current COVID-19. All these data should help to add new insights and partners in the existing wildlife health surveillance system and hopefully strengthen it.
On Tuesday 2nd of June 2020, the kick off meeting for ZooCoV was held at Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, gathering all partners involved in the project:
- The Department of Wildlife and Biodiversity and the General Directorate for Animal Health and Production, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries;
- The Ministry of Health and Cambodian Center for Disease Control;
- The Royal University of Phnom Penh;
- The Wildlife Conservation Society;
- Flora and Fauna International;
- The CIRAD (Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le developpement);
- The Institut Pasteur du Cambodge.
The purpose of this meeting was to present the objectives, methodologies, expected results and agenda of ZooCoV, as well as gathering insights of partners on its components.