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China, UK team up on avian diseases

Cecily Liu
Updated: Sep 1,2017 11:23 AM     China Daily

Chinese and British researchers are collaborating to combat the spread of avian diseases.

Around 100 experts gathered in London on Aug 31 at the third annual conference hosted by the UK-China Centre of Excellence for Research on Avian Diseases. Delegates discussed solutions for avian viruses and best management practices.

“China’s and the UK’s collaboration in avian disease is highly important, given the current situation in China,” said Shen Zhiqiang, director at the Shandong Binzhou Academy of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.

The first known human cases of H7N9 bird flu were reported in China in 2013. Since then, more than 1,500 cases have been reported. About 40 percent of those infected have died.

Shen said the UK’s advanced avian disease research and disease control technology, as well as its management expertise on poultry farming, can “generate great benefits” for China.

Both China and the UK have established poultry industries, but sustained growth in both countries is hampered by continued challenges from a large number of avian diseases.

Tackling avian disease is high on the Chinese government’s agenda. It recently set new policy directions to strengthen the monitoring of poultry farms by 2020.

“To improve best practices on poultry farms, it is crucial for the government to introduce new policy measures ... and academic research is very important to support these policy directions,” Shen said.

The UK-China Centre of Excellence for Research on Avian Diseases was established in 2015 with 50 million pounds ($64.6 million) of joint Chinese and British government funding.