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One health, one surveillance. 25th and 10th anniversary

The VISAVET cente of the Complutense University of Madrid celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2018, together with the 25th commemoration of the creation of the Health Surveillance research group

July 31st, 2018

The VISAVET Health Surveillance Centre of the Complutense University of Madrid celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2018 since its institutional creation in April 2008. This celebration coincides with the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Health Surveillance Research Group of the UCM, ascribed to VISAVET and mainly composed by researchers of this Centre and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the same university.

One Health One SurveillanceThe VISAVET Centre (2008-Present)

 

VISAVET Health Surveillance Centre is a research, support and teaching Centre belonging to the UCM that has its origins in the Health Surveillance Research Group. It is governed by a council formed by the management head of the center, the Complutense Foundation, the Dean of the Veterinary Faculty and the Vice-Rector for Research, and is chaired by the Rector of the UCM. Its uniqueness lies in its infrastructure and equipment, the only one of its kind in Madrid's universities. Their laboratories and animal facilities with level 3 biological safety laboratories (BSL3) are essential to safely work with agents and animals infected with type 3 pathogens both for the personnel and for the community, and allow researchers the development of research projects in this type of pathogens and diseases. The Centre also has two necropsy rooms with different levels of biological containment (BSL2 and BSL3) and a clean area designed to create a pathogen-free environment. This infrastructure of laboratories, animal facilities and necropsy rooms, has a modern technological equipment that allows its connection in real with a conference room, as well as online, allowing a high quality continuous and postgraduate training. VISAVET works in the areas of animal health, public health, food safety and the environment, under the "One health" concept. VISAVET is committed with an animal experimentation that strictly meets the requirements of animal welfare, with leading staff and facilities which meets the highest technical and legal requisites.

 

VISAVET has its origins in the early 90s due to the requirements in terms of biosecurity and in the urgent need for an infrastructure that complied with the regulations for the management of group 3 biological agents and animals infected with this kind pathogens. However, it was not until 1999 when the UCM got the required funding for the construction of a new biological containment area which was completed in 2004. Finally, in 2008, the UCM legally recognized VISAVET as a teaching and research Centre, with a distinctive regulation. The Centre's expertise has been endorsed, among other achievements, through accreditation by ENAC according to ISO 17025 and the designation of its laboratories as national and international reference infrastructures for different diseases, its active participation in the most important public and animal health crises in the country (Bacillus anthracis -2001-, Influenza H1N1 -2009, Leishmania 2010, Rabies Virus -2013- and Ebola Virus -2014-), the numerous awards in recognition of the research carried out throughout its history, and the participation in the design and leadership of multiple programs, consortiums, contracts and research projects.

 

The center has its genesis at the beginning of the 90s, given the requirements in terms of biosecurity and in the need for an infrastructure that complied with the regulations for the management of animals infected with group 3 biological agents. However, it was not until 1999 when the University found the necessary financing for the construction of a new biological containment zone whose works were completed in 2004. These facilities would make the experience of the research group profitable and would give support to the public administrations in their different areas of action. Finally, in 2008, the University published its regulation as a specific support center for teaching and research of the UCM. The technical competence of the Center has been endorsed, among other merits, through accreditation by ENAC - ILAC MRA according to the UNE International Standard -EN ISO / IEC 17025, the designation of its laboratories as national and international reference for different diseases, its active participation in the most important public health crises in the country (B. anthracis 2001, Influenza A H1N1 2009, Leishmania 2010, 2013 Rabies Virus and 2014 Ebola Virus), the numerous awards in recognition of the research carried out throughout its history, and the participation in the design of multiple programs, consortiums, contracts and research projects.

 

VISAVET currently houses laboratories with the following appointments: European Union Reference Laboratory for bovine tuberculosis (European Commission), Reference Laboratory for African Swine Fever and African Horse Sickness (OIE), Reference Laboratory of the Biological Alert Laboratory Network (RE-LAB) (Ministry of the Presidency), Official Laboratory of Analysis of the Community of Madrid for the detection of Salmonella (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food), Laboratory of the Laboratory Network of Public Research Organizations, Official Control Laboratory of Food, Centre elaborator of autogenous vaccines for veterinary use, Research and Animal Experimentation and Laboratory Centre authorized for the sanitary control of equine diseases and the collection of genetic material of equine donors (Regional Government of Madrid) and Laboratory of Animal Production and Animal health (Generalitat Valenciana).

 

VISAVET is organized in the following units: Sub-direction of Management, Human Resources and Teaching, Quality and Biosafety Unit, Information Technology and Communication Unit, Clinical Trials Unit, Microbial Identification and Characterization Unit, Mycobacteria Unit, Pathology and Forensic Veterinary Medicine Unit, Foodborne Zoonoses and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit, Neglected and Emerging Diseases Unit, Equine Health Surveillance Unit, Veterinary Livestock Assistance Unit and Madrid Emergency Veterinary Unit, as well as the associated research units of Viral Immunology and Preventive Medicine; Molecular Basis of Adaptation; and Quantitative Epidemiology.

 

The Health Surveillance research group (1993-Present)

 

The Health Surveillance research group of the UCM (920033) began its activity in 1993, under the name "Molecular Epidemiology, Animal Health and Food and Environmental Safety", within the fold of the Department of Animal Health of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary of the UCM. This group, headed by Professor Lucas Domínguez, continued Professor Guillermo Suárez's research on food safety (focused on the study of Listeria and other facultative intracellular pathogens, as well as microbial toxins), opening new areas of research such as the study of the emerging problem of resistance to antibiotics, the vaccination as an alternative to the use of antimicrobials in animal production and animal health, the control of bovine tuberculosis or the investigation of zoonoses and re-emerging diseases in wildlife. The research group moved its UCM staff to the facilities of the VISAVET Centre, supporting the creation of this research Centre, being validated as an official UCM’s research group in 2004 in the first call for evaluation of candidates to research groups of the UCM. The group's primary objective is health surveillance under a “One Health” approach, which has led to the formation of a multidisciplinary group belonging to different institutions (Complutense University, Institute for Game and Wildlife Research –IREC-, Animal Health Research Center –CISA-INIA-, Carlos III Health Institute and León University. The group has shared equipment, facilities and knowledge that have allowed them to jointly develop their research lines. At present it is made up of 63 members (44 PhD, 19 graduates, of which 12 are PhD students). With regard to financing, the group has participated since its origin in more than 170 competitive research projects, both national and international (i.e. European Joint Program and European Research Council), more than 300 contracts with administrations and private companies and has obtained more than 80 personnel aids. To a large extent, thanks to these latest grants, it has been consolidated as a space for ongoing training, allowing, for example, the defense of more than 80 doctoral theses. Finally, the collaboration of group members in panels of experts, platforms and working groups demonstrates its consistency in their areas of work at international level (i.e. Med-Vet-Net Association), national level (i.e. Veterinary Surveillance Network of Resistances to Antibiotics and RE-LAB) and regional level (i.e. Advanced Technologies of the Community of Madrid, with excellent qualification after 3 calls). Its researchers run research centers and international reference laboratories (EU-RLs, OIE-RLs, etc.). The group carries out important work in the field of the transfer of results and advising companies and administrations, collaborating in health programs such as the eradication of bovine tuberculosis and campaigns to control leishmaniasis and other zoonotic diseases. The active participation of the research group in some of the main health crises that our country has suffered, or the coordination of the Agro-Food and Health Cluster of CEI Moncloa must also be stressed.

 

The last evaluation of the group has been carried out in year 2018 by the National Research Agency, receiving an excellent rating of 98 points out of 100.






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VISAVET Health Surveillance Centre
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