Work packages

Work Package Number 1

WP leader: Mikael Leijon

Development of new diagnostic tools for detection and characterization of AI and ND viruses with special regard to co-infections and the presence of vaccination

The rapid detection of AI and ND viruses is of pivotal importance to minimize the impact of a disease outbreak. In this regard, the characterization of the virus pathotype is crucial to differentiate harmful virus variants from common low pathogenic AI and ND viruses as well as vaccine strains. In addition, the differentiation of the H5, H7 and H9 AIV subtype are of fundamental importance in diagnosis of AI due to the unique properties of H5/7 to turn highly pathogenic and of H9, besides often causing sever negative effects in poultry production, being able to infect humans. Both AI and ND viruses have the common feature that a very strong genetic marker exists for the highly pathogenic trait, i.e. the sequence of the cleavage site of the precursor proteins of the hemagglutinin and the fusion protein, respectively. This has enabled the development of simple PCR-based assays for molecular pathotyping. This strategy greatly facilitates the pathotyping of ND and AI that previously has required nucleotide sequencing and enables rapid detection and characterization under field conditions on portable PCR instrument or simply equipped laboratories. Here we will develop a system for both detection and pathotyping in a rapid fashion suitable for implementation in a field diagnostic setting. Furthermore, since the clinical manifestation of highly pathogenic (HPAI) and velogenic Newcastle disease (vND) often are indistinguishable, a diagnostic method employing a similar technique will be constructed that simultaneously detect and pathotype both viruses. In parallel to this novel assay development strategy, presently available methods will be compiled and evaluated in order to validate the best approach for rapid AI/ND diagnosis in the presence of vaccination. It is important to rapidly detect and characterize AI and ND. Optimally this should be done already in the field to prevent spread of disease.. The developed systems for multiple AI/ND detection will be tested under field conditions in areas with circulation of lentogenic and/or velogenic ND and LPAI viruses.

The objectives of WP1 are: i) to determine whether AI and ND vaccination could interfere with the detection and pathotyping of asymptomatic birds shedding virus using already established methods. ii) To evaluate the performances of currently available and newly developed diagnostic tools for the multiplex detection of AI and ND viruses in a single assay. iii) To develop a test that in a single experiment detects the presence of AIV and NDV and to evaluate clinical and analytical sensitivity and specificity of the method for both pathogens and the ruggedness of the method. iv) Given detection, to develop a method for rapid recognition of AIV H5/7/9 subtype and AI and ND virus pathotype in a single assay and to test the application of the developed assays under field conditions.

Organisations involved

Statens Veterinärmedicinska Anstalt
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Veterinaires et Agrochimiques
Kimron Veterinary Institute


Work Package Number 2

WP leader: Irit Davidson (KVI)

Effect of H9N2 LPAIV and ND co-infections on pathogenicity, tissue tropism and horizontal spread

Both avian respiratory viruses, AIV H9N2 and NDV, are highly prevalent in poultry and cause most significant economic direct and indirect losses by both singular and by multiple virus infections. While diagnosis, pathology description, spreading pattern, and tissue tropism were studied extensively for each virus, in particular, relatively limited attention was dedicated to the understanding of the mutual influence of both viruses in multiple virus-infections. As in “real life” many commercial flocks are infected simultaneously with both viruses, and we aimed to understand the phenomena in vivo, in the bird by the experimental reproduction of dual virus-infection of SPF chicks. Pathogenicity, tissue tropism and shedding will be studied in experimental infection trials in SPF chicks employing a recent AIV H9N2 isolate and a recent vNDV (genotype 7). The pathogenicity will be evaluated throughout the trial, during which, birds will be monitored daily for clinical signs and mortality. The tissue tropism would be focused by examining various organs of the respiratory and digestive systems, the brain tissue and immune system-associated organs, by RRT-PCR for AIV and NDV. The shedding will be analysed by 2 ways: by examining the virus presence in the cloaca and in the trachea, and by introducing naïve birds to the single- or dual-infected groups and examining the infectivity/interference of the shed viruses, according to the timing and mixed-infection combinations mentioned in the pathogenicity studies.

The vaccination efficacy will be measured by evaluating the morbidity, mortality and virus shedding by RRT-PCR. To reflect, as close as possible, the actual circumstances in the commercial flocks, the AIV and NDV presently used vaccines will be used in the present project.

Organisation involved

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Kimron Veterinary Institute, Bet Dagan, Israel
Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Veterinaires et Agrochimiques
Statens Veterinaermedicinska Anstalt


Work Package Number 3

WP leader: Bénédicte Lambrecht (CODA-CERVA)

Investigating the systemic and local immune response to AI and ND infections and to ND vaccination

Humoral and cell-mediated immune responses as well as the local immunity induction are essential for complete protection against ND in chickens. High-quality vaccine/vaccination programs should be able to induce a high level of general and local immunity in particular at level of respiratory, intestine and female reproductive apparatus.

The aim of WP3 will be to investigate the systemic and local immune responses induced after ND infections or vaccinations both in naïve birds and in birds exposed to prior or concomitant H9N2 infections. Tools to evaluate the local immunity specific to NDV present at the female reproductive apparatus after vaccination should be developed during this project. The immunosuppressive potential of H9N2 strains will be evaluated and its impact on the mounting immune responses after ND vaccination wild be evaluated.

Organisation involved

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Kimron Veterinary Institute
Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Veterinaires et Agrochimiques
Statens Veterinaermedicinska Anstalt

Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Veterinaires et Agrochimiques (CODA-CERVA)

The CODA-CERVA (Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre) is a Federal scientific research establishment. CODA-CERVA’s core activities consist of scientific reseach, expert advice and efficient provision of services in the following fields of activities:

The CODA-CERVA (Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre) is a Federal scientific research establishment. CODA-CERVA’s core activities consist of scientific reseach, expert advice and efficient provision of services in the following fields of activities:

*Veterinary activities:

  • Epidemic, endemic and emerging transmittable diseases in animals
  • Zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases threatening public health
  • Epidemiology : surveillance, risk analysis, and molecular epidemiology

*Agrochemical activities:

  • Contaminants and the quality of the environment in the framework of safe food production

It contributes to a proactive policy in terms of food production safety, animal health and public health, at both the Federal and international levels: it supports the preparation of the Federal Public Service for Public Health, food chain safety and environment and of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FAFSC).
CODA-CERVA is under the wardship of the Minister of SMCs, Independent workers, Agriculture and Scientific policy, and is administratively connected to the Federal Public Service for Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment. More information can be obtained on the website


Work Package Number 4

WP leader: Calogero Terregino (IZSVe)

Investigating ND vertical transmission and the efficacy of ND vaccination in poultry co-infected with contemporary H9N2 and velogenic ND viruses

Several reports had indicated a sub-optimal performance of commercially available ND vaccines against virulent ND virus. Furthermore, field observations indicate that the impact of ND virus infections appears more severe in countries with concomitant circulation of LPAI virus such as H9N2 viruses. As a consequence of the insufficient protection provided by current vaccines, isolation of vND viruses from multi-vaccinated breeder hens, embryonated eggs and progeny chicks has been observed in various ND endemic areas where high mortality or severe drop in egg
production were also reported.

The aims of WP4 is to understand whether commercial poultry, specifically broiler breeders, immunized by commercial available vaccines, are adequately protected against contemporary vND viruses belonging to genotype VII and if the vaccination efficacy can be reduced by a concomitant circulation of H9N2 viruses.
The possibility of vertical transmission of vND virus as well as the possibility to prevent the spread of infection by eggs and chicks by vaccination will also be studied.

Organisation involved

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Kimron Veterinary Institute
Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Veterinaires et Agrochimiques
Statens Veterinaermedicinska Anstalt


Work Package Number 5

WP leader: Sándor Belák (SVA)

Dissemination of project results and findings

Since dissemination of the results to the scientific communities, health authorities and control services, stakeholders and to the general society is considered as a main task and high priority in NADIV, a specific WP (WP5) is devoted to the dissemination of project results and findings.

The main objectives of this WP are:

  • To increase and disseminate the knowledge in AI/ND pathogenesis, immunity and control.
  • To make all the knowledge, data and information generated in this project available at the national and international scale.
  • To facilitate the exchange of expertise, scientific materials and protocols and SOPs between project partners and other scientists in the scientific community at a global level.
  • To make sure that all the information and data reach the scientific community, veterinary authorities and laboratories, institute and field veterinarians, universities, poultry industry stakeholders and farmers.

Partners and organisations involved in the NADIV consortium

Partner 1: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Partner 2: Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Veterinaires et Agrochimiques
Partner 3: Kimron Veterinary Institute
Partner 4: Statens Veterinärmedicinska Anstalt, SVA

Associated organisations, supporting the dissemination of results at a global scale

  • The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE,, Paris, France will be directly informed via SVA, which is a Collaborating Centre of the OIE
  • The Animal Production and Health Section, FAO/IAEA Joint Division, IAEA, Vienna, Austria, will disseminate the results in the FAO and IAEA global networks, by following the established practices and well-functioning collaboration (e. g., as it was practiced in the previous EU project LAB-ON-SITE and in other EU projects)
  • The consortia of further EU projects, such as RAPIDIA-FIELD, EPI-SEQ and large national projects, such as the Formas BioBridges project in Sweden, where members of the NADIV consortium participate as partners or as coordinator
  • The European Society for Veterinary Virology (, where the partners of NADIV actively participate and disseminate the results


Work Package Number 6

WP leader: Giovanni Cattoli (IZSVe)

Project management and coordination

The project work plan is structured around 6 Work Packages that integrate, towards a common objective, research/technical activities (WP1 to WP4), dissemination issues (WP5), management, and reporting activities (WP6). Therefore, WP6 is specifically dedicated to the management of the project.
The overall objective of WP6 is to ensure the successful implementation of the NADIV project and achieve the objectives set. In particular:

  • Project Management: Coordinating the project, on a day-to-day basis, at scientific, administrative, logistic, financial and legal levels, and initiating/implementing strategic activities. Preparing and submitting the Project Periodic and Final Reports.
  • Organisation of all project meetings: Kick-Off meeting and annual meeting, Steering Committee meetings. Ad hoc meetings or teleconferences will be organized in case there will be the need to address specific issues.
  • Contractual and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Management: Ensuring the fulfillment of contractual obligations among beneficiaries and vis-à-vis the EC and providing modalities for relevant IPR protection.
  • Ethics and Gender equality: Making sure ethical aspects are properly considered and assuring gender equality.

Organisation involved

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Kimron Veterinary Institute
Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Veterinaires et Agrochimiques
Statens Veterinaermedicinska Anstalt