The AIM-COST Action is organised into three working groups. To join ThA action please read the descriptions below. Once you have selected a working group please add your name and selected working group to this spreadsheet and also contact the working group leader directly. Leader contact details can be found on this page.
WG1 – MONITORING & SURVEILLANCE of AIMs and EAIMBVs
Task 1.1 – Review, optimisation and ToK of AIM monitoring and surveillance. The practicality and efficiency of current sampling protocols for collecting different mosquito stages (i.e. eggs, larvae, resting, ovipositing and host-seeking adult females, resting males), environmental DNA sampling, AIM identification based on morphology using identification keys or molecular approaches (PCR; molecular genotyping; MALDI-TOF) were systematically reviewed, based on country level case specific data. Information and knowledge exchange were facilitated and promoted at country level to maximise stakeholder involvement, to identify needs and gaps of different approaches, with the final aim of refining the interventions from inception to assessment to consolidate and harmonise recommendations for each species and level of expertise.
Task 1.2 - Integrating surveillance data analysis, spatial modelling & mapping to ensure the quality and applicability of future technical outputs at the European level. Surveillance data provide the opportunity to produce spatial model of predicted vector distributions of areas that have not been adequately sampled in the field. The surveillance data must however be standardised and representative. In addition the modelling methods and the covariates data also need to be reliable and harmonized to ensure comparable outputs for different areas and from different practitioners. Finally, the outputs themselves need to be tailored for a range of potential users in the academic, public health and public arenas. Task 1.2 has assessed the major potential ‘roadblocks’ in the work chain from sampling to dissemination, and provide a set of guidelines containing recommendations for best practice sampling, modeling and output production to ensure the maximum integration and impact at the EU level of the three sets of activities. Such a Road map was not only be valuable within the context of AIM assessments, but was widely applicable to other vectors, their hosts and the diseases they carry.
WG2 – CONVENTIONAL and INNOVATIVE CONTROL TOOLS
Task 2.1 – Review, optimisation of current control options. The control of AIMs where there is a risk of EAIMBV outbreaks (when, for example, an infected human imported case is reported to health authorities) consists of focal spraying of adulticide insecticides. Preventive larval control interventions based on habitat management campaigns to reduce availability of potential larval habitats and/or treatment of non-removable breeding sites (such as rain catch basins) are strongly recommended to reduce abundance of AIMS and related nuisance, but are rarely effectively implemented by public administrations. Private citizens are also investing considerable resources to reduce the nuisance using focal insecticide treatments and/or spatial/personal repellents and trapping devices whose effectiveness is rarely assessed. The main focuses of this task are exchanges of information and knowledge and provision of recommendations for optimising at the Pan-European level methodologies to control AIM, for each species/geographical context. The practicality and efficiency of current control methods and the trends were systematically reviewed, based on country level case specific examples. A critical prospective analysis for the intelligent use of public health pesticides in future decades taking into account the risk of insurgence and spread of insecticide resistance were discussed in the frame of current Biocide European directive.
Task 2.2 - Quality evaluation of AIM control operations. Mosquito control operations are conducted by public or private agencies, depending on the specific country regulation and local situations. As these operations are usually publicly funded, they should be conducted with maximum transparency and quality control and external independent evaluation. Quality evaluation in mosquito control is largely unattended in Europe and thus strongly required in parallel with mosquito control operations. Preliminary experience developed in some countries were gathered and analysed to asses cost-benefit, and protocols for quality evaluation in different settings were developed alongside provision of training for technicians.
Task 2.3 - Innovative vector control tools/New Paradigms. A limited number of mosquito larvicides (e.g. bacterial toxins and insect growth regulators, IGRs) and adulticides (e.g. pyrethroids) are presently available to control AIM and alternative efficient control solutions with low environmental impact are still lacking. Alternative innovative methods for the control of mosquito vectors of arboviruses - such as Wolbachia infections, paratransgenesis, Attractive Toxic Sugar Baits, mass-trapping, auto-dissemination, innovative sterile male releases and transgenic approaches - are under development aiming in most cases at a niche role rather than becoming the default intervention across a wide range of settings. Successful demonstration of cost-effectiveness of novel interventions in certain settings in CCs/NCCs is required to facilitate registration processes, policy endorsement, and expansion-scale up strategies also in other places. Knowledge base acceptation of novel approaches to the target populations is particularly relevant in case of possible implementation of biotechnology-based approaches and transgenic technologies. Novel control approaches were compared with current methods and gaps in deployment of alternative AIM control tools were identified. Strengths and weaknesses of each method, for a range of settings and geographical contexts, were assessed in terms of efficiency, environmental, operational and ethical constraints, by assessing specific use cases, and by literature reviews. Conditions/sites where such alternative methods could be deployed were identified and recommended. Network members has also provided guidance to the implementation and cost-effectiveness analysis of possible local pilot trials of novel control interventions supported by external funds and to the approaches to be implemented to raise of public awareness on vector control options in order to stimulate evidence-based decisions and informed consensus.
WG3 - DISSEMINATION, CUSTOMISATION AND COMMUNICATION
Task 3.1 - Dissemination within the COST-Action network & to scientific external audience. Traditional methods were used to disseminate AIM-COST ACTION activities and outputs - primarily a dedicated Website (www.aimcostaction.org). This has contained a wide range of content including but not limited to formal Action documents (objectives, meeting presentations, minutes), details of participants, outputs and publications, downloads, links to other relevant networks and projects, factsheets, news and events and a science blog.
Task 3.2 – Customisation: guidelines for surveillance/control and for modelling outputs. This overarching task consists of 2 subtasks, as follows: T3.2a Surveillance and control guidelines: as set out above, existing guidelines for surveillance and control are not widely or consistently used at the national level and require customisation to local conditions. This task has disseminated guidelines developed by WG1 and 2 to a range of stakeholders to solicit feedback and enable appropriate revision. T3.2.b Mapping and Modelling Outputs. Maps are powerful dissemination and advocacy tools – “a picture is worth a thousand words”. They can also be, if inadvertently, misleading. They may not map the right parameter (e.g. presence or absence rather than abundance); they may provide the wrong level of detail (e.g. km vs. administrative unit level); they may use inappropriate designs or simply be too complicated. The specific question to be addressed in this task is how to optimise existing mapped outputs for end users. The WG activities have therefore focused on the detailed customisation and translation of technical products for each defined user group, through: i) A WS to consult representative producers and users to identify dissemination needs (e.g. what information should be disseminated and to whom, what methods to use, who is responsible for the dissemination, and feedback loops should validate usability); ii) an STSM for preparation of dissemination guidelines; iii) presentation of the draft guidelines to Users at dedicated session during AC, for feedback; iv) Incorporation of feedback / guideline finalisation.