SUMMARY OF THE THIRD SEMI ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE PROJECT LOVCEN

SUMMARY DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT OBJECTIVES

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.

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 19 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), 10. An. plumbeus (malaria vector), 11. An. saccharovi (malaria vector), 12. Ochlerotatus (Dahliana) geniculatus, 13. Ochlerotatus (Acertomyia) zammitti, 14. Oc. (Rusticoidus) rusticus, 15. Culiseta annulata, 16. Coquillettidia richiardii, 17. Cq. buxtoni, 18. Phlebotominae ** (Laishmania spp. vectors) and 19. Simulidae.

Additionally new Mosquito Resting Trap - ZBUN TiN-MNE has been accepted as official patent in Montenegro.

WP1b Mobile phone application for surveillance of invasive and indigenous species (KOMARAC) application prepared, and launched, after validation period application is in use.

WP1c Detection of pathogens in mosquitoes and humans Samples of mosquitoes are send to IZSLER for viral testing. 48 test samples of human sera were checked in IPH on IgM and IgG antibodies. 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). In June 2015. 28 samples were tested on flavivirus, buniavirus, alphavirus , phlebovirus (viral genus PCRs), West Nile and USUTU virus (specific Real Time PCRs). We detect a positive reaction only for bunyavirus in two samples and proceed with the sequence of the PCR fragment have been done, unfortunately the analysis give us a “not specific” results.

WP1d Social Impact and Policy Recommendation we have been questioner 15 out of 25 municipalities (60%); 1379 out of 1710 citizens (80.64%); 12 out of 30 touristic operators (40%) and 20 Primary health care Institutions.

WP1e SIT mosquitoes delivered from Italy – CAA were marked, released and recaptured twice, during the August and September 2014. At August 2015. Preliminary Study aimed to the Risk Assessment of Chikungunya and Dengue Outbreak In Montenegro, has been conducted.

WP1e other non-chemical control methods Laboratory research have been done during June 2014, and on field research have been done during June 2015.

WP1f Climate change impact on MV and MBD, adaptation and mitigation 1st year research was focused on temperature change impact on MV and MVB; additionally maps of St. albopicta possibilities for overwintering, Kobajashi and MCDA models have been done. 2nd year of research is focused on precipitation and air humidity changes impact on MV and MVB in Montenegro.

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 In 1st year 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. In 2nd year three trainings of six persons have been hold till now. From IPH researchers Sanja Medenica and Nebojsa Sekulic went to NIV to senior researchers Tamas Petrovic. 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 1st year: 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). 2nd year: Four trainings with senior researchers Ilija Arsenic (FoA), Romeo Bellini (CAA), Michele Dottori (IZSLER) and Tamas Petrovic (NIV) have been done.

WP2d Active participation of the applicant's research staff at international conferences 1st year: 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). 2nd year: 1. 3rd scientific meeting with international  participation - 5. June – World environment day at Bihac, Bosnia and Hercegovina; two persons attended Conference: Nedeljko Latinovic (BTF) and Igor Pajovic (BTF). 2. 12th BiH Plant Protection Symposium at Mostar, Bosnia and Hercegovina; 1 person attended Conference: 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 that time we have 5438 visits from 100 countries, 1121 cities (GoogleAnalitic) and 105 likes on Project Facebook profil.

WP2g Internal dissemination meetings 30 meetings was hold till now.

(WP2h) Preparing web pages and brochures Brochure with working title “How much does mosquito bait costs?” prepared and ready for print.

WP2i "Laboratory open days" 1st year was at IHMS, 25th of February. 44 students from high vocation school “Spasoje Raspopovic” were attending the lectures. 2nd year as a part of 5th Open Science Days (21st - 25th September, 2015. Podgorica). 39 students from high school “Secondary Medical School” were attending the lectures.

WP2j Public (radio, TV, newspapers) appearances There were three appearances in public TV, in on-line journal and in newspaper. On Science Open Days at University of Montenegro has been organized promotion of LOVCEN achievement with lecture: Eye to Eye with Mosquitoes, 25th September and presentation at Mediterranean Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Trainning - MediPIET, Introductory course in intervention epidemiology 19-30th October, Budva, has been conducted.

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 done 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, and is in process for two Carl Zeiss motorized Stereo Binocular Microscope and one Motorized Microscope AxioImager M2.

WP3b innovation capacity building innovation capacity building seminar was held by lecturer Steve Quarrie, 20-23rd January 2015. and 13th May: lecture - Skills for research - skills for life!, 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. 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 (Visit of VectorNet team for Leishmania and sandfly viruses to Montenegro, 8-11th July 2015.) and "LIFE CONOPS" project (LIFE12 ENV/GR/000466) is funded by the European Commission in the framework of the programme LIFE + Environment Policy and Governance. Application for organisation of E-SOVE (European Society for Vector Ecology ) Meeting – has been accepted but later is cancelled.

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.