CCHFV Early lab diagnosis

This project will work towards the adoption of a nationwide approach to identify gaps in detection and control strategies of the CCHF (a dangerous agent on the U.S. Select Agent List that has a nearly 50 percent case fatality rate) in four Afghanistan provinces with active terrorist groups. The work will focus on efforts initiated during a pilot phase targeting six provinces to help mitigate biological threats in the most critical regions of Afghanistan where endemic CCHF and terrorist groups coexist, namely Herat, Nangarhar, Balk, and Kandahar, and which are also home to active regional laboratories. Specific activities will include work to identify vectors collected from the field, map high-risk locations for presence of the virus, provide diagnostic and testing capacities at the Central Veterinary Diagnostic Research Laboratory (CVDRL) for CCHF with education and vector identification at the Regional Laboratories, and statistically correlate the variables that increase the threat burden from CCHF in a geographical area. Enhanced early detection of CCHF allows for rapid and targeted interventions to halt the spread of the virus and minimize the reservoir of weaponizable pathogens that could be exploited by terrorists or other nefarious actors for use in a bioterrorism attack.

 Donor/Contractor US Department of State
 Period 5 September 2019 – 31 December 2020
 Area 4 Provinces

This project will build upon a small pilot effort implemented by CTR in six provinces that revealed serious gaps in the technical infrastructure, the laboratory workforce capacity, and the necessary diagnostics testing, and the current knowledge of CCHF virus and transmission dynamics within the technical community in Afghanistan. The lack of information, skills and resources has resulted in an increased incidence of this zoonotic disease, and an urgent need for improved detection and control. This effort will provide technical reinforcement to ongoing field activities by building laboratory capacity of the Central Laboratory, the three Regional Laboratories active in Afghanistan, and increases communication and coordination among all stakeholders, including the Central Epidemiology Department (CED) of the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (GDAHP), the CVDRL, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), and Kabul University Faculty of Veterinary Science. This will include attendance at Zoonotic Committee meetings.

DCA will conduct the training in a location approved by CTR and will adopt appropriate security precautions as warranted if DCA travels from and to Afghanistan.

  • Provide one TOT training to a key staff member in each of the three Regional Laboratories on CCHF in general, and the role, collection, and identification of vectors, to include applicable biosafety and biosecurity measures.
  • Conduct one training for staff at CED and veterinary faculties at universities to identify vectors and perform epidemiological analysis in accordance with appropriate biosafety and biosecurity measures. DCA will conduct the training in a location approved by CTR and will adopt appropriate security precautions as warranted if DCA travels from and to Afghanistan.
  • Share data and results with relevant ministries, the zoonotic control committee, and other stakeholders to inform them so a national strategy for the prevention, control and mitigation of CCHF can be developed.
  • Leverage geographic information system (GIS) technology to map high-risk areas of threat, clinical CCHF cases, prevalence of the virus, and biosecurity and biosafety vulnerabilities.
  • Provide CTR with participant information using the CTR participant review spreadsheet (including full name, date of birth, citizenship, email, phone number, institutional affiliation, and a government issued-national ID number) for all non-U.S. citizen participants (including trainers) at least 30 days prior to any event, workshop, training, or provision of financial support of any kind. For participants who are citizens of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, the same participant information is required 45 days in advance. CTR approval is required for all participants prior to engagements in order to avoid cancellation or postponement, and CTR reserves the right to remove participants from the project at any time, or to extend the timeline for participant information on a case-by-case basis
  • Quarterly reporting, including, but not limited to CTR narrative and financial quarterly reports, participant lists, photos, curriculum, challenges, successes, lessons learned, recommended/potential follow-on activities, and updated budget balances.

The CCHFV project work area:

  • Herat
  • Balkh
  • Nangarhar
  • Kandahar

Deliverables:

  • Testing and analysis of samples collected from the pilot phase and new samples from four proposed provinces selected in consultation with CTR.
  • Coordinate with all stakeholders, particularly in Nangarhar with other potential BEP partners in support of the Laboratory and University.
  • Provide ELISA test kits, PCR reagents, and protective equipment to CVDRL to test samples and identify vectors.
  • Conduct one training for research officers at CVDRL on ELISA and PCR to test biological samples in accordance with appropriate bio safety and bio security measures.

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