23 December 2016 - The 10th Rinderpest Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) meeting organized by Rinderpest-Secretariat was held at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) headquarters in Paris, France, November 8-9, 2016. JAC is composed of seven leading rinderpest experts nominated by OIE and FAO in June 2012. It meets twice a year to discuss post-eradication activities overseen by the FAO-OIE rinderpest secretariat and provides technical support and guidance to the two organizations.
This meeting focused on five key items:
- Current situation of FAO-OIE Rinderpest Holding Facilities (RHF)
- Rinderpest virus containing material (RVCM) sequestration and destruction efforts
- Rinderpest International Preparedness Plan (IPP) and Vaccine Strategy Reserves (RVSR)
- FAO communication and advocacy activities
- FAO and OIE activities since the previous meeting (April 2016)
In the current post-eradication era, a number of laboratories across the world still keep RVCM for a number of purposes. This might pose a risk of virus escape and disease reintroduction into the cattle population, as it happened for foot and mouth disease (FMD) during the devastating 2006 outbreak in England. JAC discussed the possibility of limiting the number of RHF worldwide and decided that advocacy and networking are effective tools to convince countries to destroy and/or sequestrate the virus stack to approved RHF for safe storage.
During the meeting, JAC recognized FAO’s hard work in supporting virus destruction and sequestration and in reducing number of countries holding rinderpest virus containing material (RVCM) from 45 to nine worldwide. Dr Samia Metwally, Senior Animal Health Officer at FAO, shared the outcomes of recent ‘’destroy and sequestrate’’ missions to Kenya, Senegal and Nigeria.
JAC also deliberated on the subject of international preparedness plan and its components for timely reporting and rapid response, stressing the importance of gathering emergency funds that can be released rapidly in case of a re-emergence, emergency vaccine production and delivery logistic, and design of a detailed plan tailored to specific risks. Dr Lee Mayers - FAO Crisis Management Centre / Animal Health - reported on the progress made thus far by FAO headquarters and presented a milestone/timeline of activities to complete over the next 1.5 years. JAC discussed the draft outline of the IPP strategy and provided valuable feedback for the future ad hoc Group.
On vaccine stock plans, Dr Samia Metwally, reported on her recent mission to the National Institute of Animal Health, Tsukuba, Japan. Mission objective was to strengthen the capabilities of the institute to achieve a robust quality vaccine production and management system to build RVSR in Asia. The institute proved to be a high performance establishment suited for development of a regional and global vaccine reserve.
JAC was briefed on FAO efforts in raising rinderpest and similar Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) awareness trough communication for development (ComDev), both at government and community levels. This is essential to improve reporting and build response mechanisms to prevent and contain potential rinderpest re-emergence. JAC was positively impressed by programs currently running in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal, where national consultants have been employed to implement and design communication strategies and oversee development.
Finally, JAC congratulated both FAO and OIE for the hard work spent in coordinating planned activities and in dealing with problems in a number of different scenarios. More work needs to be accomplished to secure a world completely safe from rinderpest, but the two organizations are working together and efficiently towards this goal.