Cross border epidemiology of sexually transmitted .. (MEVIR)
Cross border epidemiology of sexually transmitted viral infections in the female populations: molecular diagnostic approaches
Start date: Feb 29, 2012,
End date: Feb 27, 2014
Sexually transmitted viral infections (STVIs) affect certain population groups more severely than others. Women, young people, and members of minority groups are particularly affected, and this is also influenced by the racial and ethnic categories in which they belong. Also, specific subtypes of human papilomaviruses (HPVs), the most common STVI, are considered as the etiological agents for cervical cancer. Aim of this project is the molecular detection and identification of STVs in the female population of Bulgaria and Greece, the epidemiological mapping of local prevalence of STVIs and the identification of potentially high-risk subgroups, with ultimate goal the prevention. The project partners, DUTH-MBG and RHI–K, represent major stakeholders in diagnostics and public health. LP (DUTH-MBG) is an expert in molecular biology techniques applied in modern diagnostics, in close collaboration with the adjacent University Hospital and Medical Faculty, as well as the Regional Laboratory of Public Health.P2 (RHI-K) is a structure of the Ministry of Health responsible for implementation of the state policy for protection of public health of the territory of Kardjali district. RHI-K has recently received significant funding for the foundation of a new Cross-Border Research Centre including a Molecular Laboratory, by the European Territorial cooperation Programme Greece-Boulgaria. Samples and demographic data will be collected from both regions, creating a biobank, followed by molecular analysis by the LP (DUTH-MBG). LP will evaluate current state of the art, validate molecular diagnostic procedures, perform the detection and identification of the viruses and epidemiological analysis, and increase public awareness. Most importantly, sustainable long-term application of molecular diagnostic procedures along the lines of current quality management systems will be established and the know-how will be transferred to the Bulgarian partner. RHI-K will receive training & support by the LP for the operation and organization of the new Research Center for establishing the molecular diagnostics in their new infrastructure. The epidemiological mapping of local prevalence of STVIs and the identification of potential high-risk subgroups in both countries may affect the Public Health Policies.The information disseminated to the stakeholders in the cross-border region and the general public, will raise the awareness of the risks associated with dangerous sexual attitudes, as well as with the detection of certain HPV strains and their association to cancer, contributing to health education and promotion of young people and their parents. The proposed project is going to capitalize the experience, infrastructure and know-how of previously implemented projects. The durability of the project's achievements will be ensured through the development of long-lasting partnerships of Research and Academic Institutions with organizations involved in Public Health policies. Expected Results: The project will be implemented through a scientific network involving partners with complementary needs and expertise that will work to expand their core bilateral partnership, to involve additional local and regional actors, such as educational and medical establishments, the media and the local authorities. The direct and immediate effects will be as follows: 1) Upgraded facilities in both countries for the detection and identification of STVI, as well as other genetic analysis. 2) Established strategies and protocols for sample collection, storage and shipping. 3) Biobanks, databases of viral infections prevalence, and potential correlations with neoplasia and foetal abortion. 4) Raised awareness of the media and public about key vulnerability factors for womens health. 5) Better respond from partner organisations to the specific needs of female populations in the region. 6) Capitalization of the infrastructure and know-how on previous related project. Presently, diagnosis of virus infections in both regions is performed by conventional methods with various limitations. The proposed project will provide a novel strategy for regional STVI screening, and will undertake a comprehensive epidemiological study into the possible relationships between STVI prevalence and the socio-economic or demographic status of local populations.Emphasis will be given at the detection of the HPV infection, especially of oncogenic types leading to cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, therefore needing a close clinical follow up.The expected benefit to women is the early and accurate detection of STVI and the identification of subgroups at risk for developing virus-related cancers. Improved diagnostic methodology will allow successful implementation of prevention policies, design of effective screening programmes and allocation of resources to tackle STVIs. Additionally, knowledge gained through the implementation of the project will provide added value in the related scientific field.
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