The goal of National Program 103, Animal Health, is to protect and ensure the safety of the Nation’s agriculture and food supply through improved disease detection, prevention, control, and treatment. Basic and applied research approaches will be applied to solve animal health problems of high national priority. Emphasis will be given to methods and procedures to control animal diseases through the discovery and development of:
- Disease resistance mechanisms
- Disease management
- Animal disease models
- Farm biosecurity measures
- Agriculture sustainability
- Establish ARS laboratories into a fluid, highly effective research network, to maximize use of core competencies and resources
- Access to specialized high containment facilities to study zoonotic and emerging diseases
- Develop an integrated animal and microbial genomics research program
- Establish centers of excellence in animal immunology
- Launch a biotherapeutic discovery program providing alternatives to animal drugs
- Build a technology-driven vaccine and diagnostic discovery research program
- Develop core competencies in field epidemiology and predictive biology
- Develop internationally recognized OIE expert collaborative research laboratories
- Establish best in class training center for our nation’s veterinarians and scientists
- Develop a model technology transfer program to achieve the full impact of our research discoveries
Program targets include:
- Find new solutions to prevent economic losses from domestic and foreign animal diseases in agriculture species.
- Develop methods to help producers adjust to changing farming practices that will allow consumer driven issues to be accommodated without compromising financial viability.
- Provide information that will allow the establishment of on-farm practices to maximize biosecurity from naturally or intentionally introduced pathogens that will increase food security, farm productivity, and enhance trade and exports.
- Establish methods to be able to detect, analyze and respond to new and emerging agriculture pathogens.
- Find solutions to maintaining a barrier to pathogens at the domestic-wildlife interface.
- Establish new detection technologies that will allow better tracking and control of animal pathogens.
- Build an integrated research program to discover genetic variations associated with disease susceptibility and resistance to increase our farmers’ productivity and competitiveness.
- Develop experimental animal disease models that will serve the animal and human health research communities to significantly shorten the timelines for developing breakthrough medicines and disease prevention tools and validate countermeasures.
Achieving results in veterinary medical research, which provide useful information for problem-solving, often demands an integrated approach in which the experimental design may range from knowledge development at the molecular level to clinical trials that will lead to the development of countermeasures for preventing and controlling a disease outbreak in the field. This NP provides the means for the integration of research. For this purpose, select NP 103 projects will be aligned under “Major Initiatives.” Each major initiative will be outlined as problem statements under the research components of the action plan. Major initiatives will draw upon relevant expertise within NP 103, coordinating and integrating that expertise to develop a specific useful application of the knowledge. Major initiative projects may also attract federal, university, industry and international partners. Objectives of major initiative projects will be consistent with those of their base projects. If successful, therefore, they will enhance, rather than detract from, the impact of those base projects on their assigned topics. Because a significant number of projects in the animal health research portfolio focuses on the discovery of novel technologies, intellectual property strategies will be addressed in project plans to facilitate technology transfers and the investment by the private sector in the development of these technologies.
Relationship of This National Program to the ARS Strategic Plan: Outputs of NP 103 research support the “Actionable Strategies” associated with the performance measures shown below from the ARS Strategic Plan for 2003-2008, Objective 3.2: Develop and Deliver Science-Based Information and Technologies to Reduce the Number and Severity of Agricultural Pest, Insect, Weed, and Disease Outbreaks.
Performance Measure 3.2.1: Provide scientific information to protect animals from pests, infectious diseases, and other disease-causing entities that affect animal and human health. Target: Increase the delivery of dependable high quality scientific information to customers, stakeholders, and partners. New discoveries and technologies will be effectively communicated to improve the management of diseases that affect the livestock and poultry industries, and which may affect public health. Effective communication will be achieved by publishing in highly regarded scientific journals and trade publications and on the internet and through presentations at industry meetings.
Performance Measure 3.2.2: Identify, develop, and release to the U.S. agricultural community genetic markers, genetic lines, breeds, or Germplasm that result in food animals with improved (either through traditional breeding or biotechnology) pest- and disease-resistance traits. Target: Release new and improved genetic lines, breeds, and/or Germplasm of food animals that exhibit enhanced pest- and disease-resistance traits.
Performance Measure 3.2.3: Develop and transfer tools to the agricultural community, commercial partners, and Federal agencies to control or eradicate domestic and exotic diseases that affect animal and human health. Target: Develop diagnostic and preventative tools to control and/or eradicate domestic diseases that affect production, trade, and public health. Provide action agencies with data to support risk analyses to assess the impact of domestic and exotic diseases and develop control and eradication strategies.