International research coordination (covering the exchange of research activities, improved knowledge, and capacity building) plays a key role in the prevention, control and eradication of animal diseases. LinkTADs aimed to coordinate research on two important components of the disease control cycle, i.e. epidemiology and laboratory diagnostics, between partners in the European Union (EU) and China. This allowed for the improvement of scientific excellence in the field of animal health and the control of animal diseases through the broad networking of scientific institutions. The coordination activities created a wide-ranging network within the relevant scientific communities and stakeholders, and the systematic establishment of linkages between on-going (and future) animal health research, training programmes, and innovation projects in the veterinary fields of the EU and China. Both sides were able to exchange knowledge and establish collaborations in order to more effectively control animal diseases, including those transmitted to humans, i.e. zoonoses.
In addition, there is a growing demand in both regions to develop better linkages and coordination between epidemiology and laboratory science. This will ensure that the data generated by surveillance and laboratory testing is processed and utilized in decision making, as well as in the development of cost effective, risk-based prevention and control strategies.
Regarding the cutting-edge diagnostic technologies for early and rapid detection of animal pathogens, including those with zoonotic impact, the following activities were targeted:
-Review of existing activities in the development and implementation of diagnostic tools and technologies with the aim to define common areas of research;
-Determine the necessary scope of research to enable an effective response to diagnostic demands based on trends in the pattern of major animal diseases threatening the EU and China;
-Defining of methods on how to develop adaptive mechanisms allowing on-demand, targeted research (top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top) and the development of tailored responses.