SUMMARY OF THE SECOND SEMI ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE PROJECT LOVCEN

Objectives of LOVCEN Project are: (1) Establishment of functional system for surveillance and recording of distribution of MV and MBD, development of the capacities for risk assessment and new tools for non-chemical vector control; (2) Improvement of research capacities by collaborative research, twinning through exchange of know-how and experience, strengthening of human resources, reinforcement of infrastructural and material assets and establishment of the strategic international partnerships, developing and strengthening internal links and building up on potential for interdisciplinary interaction and innovation; (3) Expanding and reinforcing the network to provide increased opportunities of involvement in new Horizon 2020 proposals; (4) Gaining practical skills and competences in project management and research planning to provide conditions for Montenegrin researchers to reach a level of outstanding EU research institutions in the applied domain; (5) Bridging the gap between research and the market by promoting the research and innovation and (6) Establishing the MCM as a dynamic, innovative engine that will contribute to strengthening of the education and research in Montenegro and its visibility to European partners. Objectives of the Project will be achieved by: collaborative research, twinning through exchange of know-how and experience; acquisition, development, maintenance and upgrading of research equipment; innovation capacity building and various dissemination and promotional activities to research community, policy makers and stakeholders.

Objectives of WP1 Collaborative research on native/invasive mosquitoes and pathogens they transmit in Montenegro and development of non-chemical control measures are: (1) assessment of the efficacy of SIT for invasive mosquito control; (2) implementation of the newly released ECDC “Guidelines for the surveillance of invasive mosquitoes in Europe”; (3) evaluation of novel non-chemical, biodegradable materials for control of mosquito larvae; (4) identification of mosquito species present in Montenegro and their distribution; (5) identification of mosquito vector species; (6) detection of pathogens carried by mosquito vector species; (7) survey, dissemination and feedback on stakeholder’s opinions about direction of the research in vector borne disease prevention.

Objectives of WP2 Twinning through exchange of know-how and experience and dissemination activities are: (1) for researchers to gain new skills essential for their future work; (2) share of know-how, experience and ideas between institutions; (3) establishment of new partnerships, promoting research cooperation at the EU level; (4) facilitating knowledge transfer national and international level; (5) building network with researchers from WBC region and EU; (6) promoting the MCM ongoing research activities; (7) facilitating the visibility of the MCM from local (University of Podgorica) to international level and (8) to promote the LOVCEN project goals to local, national and international research and public community.

Objectives of WP3 Acquisition of research equipment and innovation capacity building are: (1) renew existing equipment; (2) boost up MCM innovation potential; (3) provide cutting edge training facilities to young researcher and (4) providing maintenance of the capital equipment.

Objectives of WP4 Management are: to ensure the basic infrastructure for the LOVCEN realization, coordination and administration, to make project activities precede as planned, on time and within budget through overall project management, budget management, reports to the HERIC PMT, quality assurance, assessment and control, progress report, coordination and cooperation on project level, contribution to the progress and the final report.

DESCRIPTION OF THE WORK PERFORMED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PROJECT AND DESCRIPTION OF THE MAIN RESULTS ACHIEVED SO FAR

The main RESEARCH achievements are:

WP1a Surveillance of invasive and native mosquito species 9 species determined from the beginning of the Project: 1. Anopheles maculipennis s.l. (vector of malaria), 2. Aedimorphus [Aedes] vexans (vector of Rift Valley Virus and Celovo Virus), 3. Dahliana [Ochlerotatus] echinus, 4. Ochlerotatus caspius (vector of Rift Valley Virus and nematodes Dirofilaria immitis and D. repens), 5. Ochlerotatus sticticus, 6. Stegomyia [Aedes] albopicta (vector of Chicungunia Virus, Dengue Virus and nematodes Dirofilaria immitis and D. repens), 7. Culex modestus (vector of West Nile Virus and nematodes Dirofilaria immitis and D. repens), 8. Culex pipiens (vector of West Nile Virus, Sindbis virus, Rift Valley Virus and nematodes Dirofilaria immitis and D. repens) and 9. Culicoides sp. (vector of Blue Thong Virus).

WP1b Mobile phone application for surveillance of invasive and indigenous species (KOMARAC) application prepared, and launched; now it’s in validation period.

WP1c Detection of pathogens in mosquitoes and humans Samples of mosquitoes have been send to Italy – IZSLER for viral testing, all samples were negative. 48 test samples of human sera were checked in IPH on IgM and IgG antibodies (all negative). 1678 tests has been done on Borelia (138 positive); 76 RT-PCR (negative). On Leishmania 22 microscopy tests (all negative), 143 ELISA (10 positive); 14 microscopy tests on Plasmodium (all negative); 6 reports of Lyme boreliosis disease; 3 cases of Leishmania; no imported Malaria and no West Nile Virus disease (WNV).

WP1d Social Impact and Policy Recommendation research finished for the 1st research year on: 15 out of 25 municipalities (60%); 1032 out of 1710 citizens (60.35%); 5 out of 30 touristic operators and 20 Primary health care Institutions.

WP1e SIT mosquitoes delivered from Italy – CAA, marked, released and recaptured twice, during the August and during the September 2014.

WP1e other non-chemical control methods Laboratory research have been done during June 2014.

WP1f Climate change impact on MV and MBD, adaptation and mitigation 1st year research was focused on temperature change impact on MV and MVB in Montenegro; maps of St. albopicta possibilities for overwintering, Kobajashi and MCDA models have been done.

Additionally our new mosquito resting trap is accepted as official patent

For LOVCEN second main objective is for researchers to gain new skills essential for their future work.

WP2a Training visits of MCM's young researchers to international partner institutions and WP2b Know-how visits of MCM's researchers to research partnering organisations Four trainings, six persons, have been hold till now. From IPH researchers Zoran Vratnica, Danijela Vujosevic went to IZSLER to senior researchers Michele Dottori and Paolo Bonilauri. From BTF researchers Igor Pajovic and Ljiljana Pajovic visited FoA senior researchers Dusan Petric and Marija Zgomba. From IHMS researchers Slavica Micev and Angel Marcev visited FoA senior researcher Branislava Lalic.

WP2c Hosting foreign institutions representatives for in situ training Kick off meeting with four key researchers, representatives from international partner institutions. Including Innovation capacity building three in situ trainings were hold in Montenegro by senior researchers Romeo Bellini (CAA), Steve Quarrie (BTF) and Branislava lalic (FoA). As well as 1st annual meeting with, above all key researchers from Montenegro, presence of all representatives from international partner institutions Romeo Bellini (CAA), Dusan Petric (FoA), Michele Dottori and Paolo Bonilauri (IZSLER), Cosmin Salasan (USAMVBT), Steve Quarrie (BTF) and Tamas Petrovic (NIV).

WP2d Active participation of the applicant's research staff at international conferences 1. Multi Country - Workshop on the implementation of mosquito vectors surveillance in the EU and enlargement countries; INT MARKT 56605, Brussels 04 - 05 December 2014. Two researchers attended conference Sanja Medenica and Nebojsa Sekulic (IPH) and 2. Preventing Vector Borne Diseases around the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions by creating new networks, MediLabSecure first “Head of Laboratory” meeting Institut Pasteur, Paris, 14th to 15th January 2015. Three LOVCEN researchers attended the meeting: Marija Zgomba (FoA), Danijela Vujosevic (IPH) and Igor Pajovic (BTF).

WP2e Introduction of teaching on MV and MBD completed for academic year 2014/2015.

WP2f Designing LOVCEN web site Web site designed during December 2014. and launched at 12th of January. From 12th February to 26th May we have 1703 visits from 68 countries and 309 cities (GoogleAnalitic) and 92 like on Project Facebook profil.

WP2g Internal dissemination meetings 26 meetings was hold during 1st year of LOVCEN Project life time.

WP2i "Laboratory open days" was held at IHMS 25th of February. 44 students from high vocation school “Spasoje Raspopovic” were attending the lectures.

WP2j Public (radio, TV, newspapers) appearances There were three appearances in public: during June on TV and in on-line journal and in October in newspaper.

WP2k Dissemination and feedback on stakeholder’s opinions see WP1d.

WP2l Community participation in mosquito surveillance and control see WP1b.

WP3a Acquisition of research equipment process of procurement goods/new equipment have been initiated for: two STEMI 305 binocular microscopes; Deep frezer -86°C V-4-STD; mosquito traps; EUROIMMUN ELISA Analyzer I-2P and QuantStudioTM 7 Flex Real-Time PCR System

WP3b innovation capacity building innovation capacity building seminar was held by lecturer Steve Quarrie, 20th to 23rd January at BTF.

The third most important goal, or objective, of LOVCEN is to become visible to EU research community in field of MV and MBD, increasing competence and visibility of the MCM and rising awareness of institutions from Member States of EU to invite MCM as a partner. Idea is to give to the project visibility in EU networks and to link LOVCEN with similar existing initiatives and running international projects, as well as to become member in institutional networks and reputed European organisation. The final goal is to become a capable partner, shoulder-to-shoulder with top EU institutions, in calls within the Horizon 2020 collaborative research projects. During 1st year LOVCEN become recognized and accepted as partner in: European Network for Neglected Vectors and Vector-Borne Infections (EurNegVec) -  COST Action TD1303.; MediLabSecure European project (2014-2017); VectorNet the European network funded both by the ECDC and ESCA.

Above all BTF and LOVCEN Project will organize eSOVE (European Society for Vector Ecology) meeting in October 2016

THE EXPECTED FINAL RESULTS AND THEIR POTENTIAL IMPACT AND USE

Surveillance and control of MV require efficient and appropriately standardized methods, integrated knowledge and awareness among researchers, academic educators and policy-makers as well as well-trained young scientists. LOVCEN aims to promote all of these values through exchange of knowledge and methodologies, improve higher education, improve the national policies, produce innovation and disseminate the related scientific information’s under the umbrella of surveillance of mosquito vectors and diseases they transmit. This will lead to further improvement of the Montenegro Consortium Members (MCM) research and capacities through collaborative research, exchange of experience and knowledge, strengthening of human, infrastructural and material resources, establishing the strategic international research partnerships in vector/pathogen surveillance and control, monitoring and predictions and getting prepared for Horizon 2020.

LOVCEN will provide the SMEs and national government with services such as know-how in: (1) surveillance, monitoring and risk assessment programme to prevent introduction of or spreading of invasive vector species and vector born disease, (2) non-chemical and non-pesticide mosquito control methods, (3) numerical weather prediction and climate simulation and (5) estimation of MV and MBD on citizens. By organizing the training courses in invasive species monitoring and control, climate change impact assessment studies, mosquito surveillance by the mobile phone network, MCM will stimulate development and growth of the SMEs in Montenegro, development of public services and well being of all citizens in the country. Quality of offered products will stimulate investments in commercialisation of MCM innovations both by enterprises and interested stakeholders.