Sustainable food security - DELTA-FLU

H2020 SC2 FOOD

DELTA-FLU (Dynamics of avian influenza in a changing world) is a five-year project (June 2017-May 2022) with 7 participants from different European countries, one from Hong-Kong and one from The United States. The project is coordinated by Professor Thomas Mettenleiter of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), the  German Federal Research Institute for Animal Health located on the isle of Riems.

DDELTA-FLUELTA-FLU aims to determine the key viral, host-related, and environmental factors that determine the dynamics of avian influenza (AI) in poultry and other host species, with the goal of improving prevention and control strategies against this disease. As a result of rapidly changing dynamics, AI continues to cause unexpected and devastating outbreaks in poultry in the EU, as well as world-wide. Its potential to become pandemic is also of great concern to public health. The key viral, host-related, and environmental factors that drive AI dynamics are poorly understood, which currently impedes the development of effective control and prevention strategies. As the problems caused by AI require global solutions, DELTA-FLU is a consortium with top-level experts from Europe, North America, and Asia. Primary sectors and end-users are involved through participation in the Multi-Actor Panel, which will also play an important role in the translation of the results into effective prevention and control strategies. As such, DELTA-FLU will make significant advances in knowledge of AIV dynamics and provide the evidence base for improved diagnosis, prevention, and control strategies for AI in poultry, as well as for reducing the possible risk of AI to become potentially pandemic.


Through interdisciplinary research focused on key questions of AI, DELTA-FLU will determine:
1) the potential for some highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV, e.g. H5N8 clade to be maintained in wild bird populations and spread over long-distances,
2) key viral, host, and environmental factors for incursion of HPAIV from wild birds into poultry holdings,
3) the roles of viral, host, and environmental factors in the transition of low pathogenic avian influenza virus to HPAIV in poultry,
4) the effect of flock immunity against AI on early detection and viral genetic drift, and
5) viral genetic factors that allow reassortants of avian and mammalian influenza viruses to transmit efficiently among pigs.

Role of Ghent University

As a partner of DELTA-FLU, the Laboratory of Professor Kristien Van Reeth will address the possible role of pigs as a stepping stone for the spread of avian influenza from poultry to human beings and the generation of a potentially pandemic influenza virus. Our laboratory is specialized in swine influenza and in studying the viral genetic factors that allow avian influenza viruses to transmit efficiently among pigs.


Prof. Dr. Kristien Van Reeth
Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology
Phone number: +3292647369