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Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases (INNT

Tackling Chronic Wasting Disease in Europe (TCWDE)


Duration: 03/2021 - 02/2024

Funding: German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Research Objective:

The project integrates epidemiological and population dynamics approaches with experimental studies on the host/pathogen interaction, and allows conclusions on the spread and transmission of European CWD to wildlife, livestock and humans.


To this end, mathematical and statistical models will be used to evaluate existing surveillance strategies in Scandinavia and to model the further spread of CWD in deer and livestock. In addition, sequencing of the prion protein gene in a representative number of deer in Europe will be performed, which will allow an assessment of the Europe-wide susceptibility to CWD.  In vitro studies will also show the influence of the detected prion protein genotypes on the conversion of the prion protein. These data will be provided by all partners for the above model calculations and can be used to induce breeding programs towards more resistant prion genotypes.  The transmission potential of European CWD strains will be determined by in vitro methods and in vivo, focusing on livestock such as sheep, cattle and pigs, but also on humans.


The data on the spread of the pathogen in Europe, the genetic susceptibility of European populations and the transmission potential of prion strains across species boundaries, collected jointly by all partners in close cooperation, will provide the basis for establishing targeted European CWD surveillance and control strategies.

Further information can be found on the project page:

Involved INNT scientists:

Dr. Christine Fast
Prof. Dr. Martin H. Groschup
Sonja Ernst (PhD student)

Map: Previously proven CWD cases in Europe, Version January 2024

Map: Previously proven CWD cases in Europe, Version January 2024

Project overview:

Project partner:

Dr. Fiona Houston
University of Edinburgh, UK

Dr. Sylvie Benested
Norwegian Veterinary Institute, As, Norwegen

Prof. Dr. Dolores Gavier-Widen
National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Schweden

Dr. Juan Carlos Espinosa
Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, Madrid, Spanien

Dr. Olivier Andreoletti
Institut national de recherche pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement, Toulouse, Cedex,Frankreich