Project FLUFET launched to tackle zoonotic diseases

Infectious zoonotic diseases, which can leap from animals to humans, are increasingly prevalent. The current risk of a new pandemic is greater than ever before. To address this, future health models must recognize the close interplay between human and animal health. Urgently needed are new technologies capable of continuously monitoring locations where the risk of pathogen transmission is elevated (shared by both animals and humans). These measures aim to prevent the substantial human, socio-political, and economic costs associated with pandemics.

The European Parliament emphasizes the importance of continuous monitoring and harmonized data collection from animal farms. However, existing methods fall short in providing in-situ, continuous, and automatic detection. Currently, only a limited number of specific pathogens are monitored.

FLUFET, a groundbreaking sensor, will revolutionize disease detection. It will be the first automated sensor capable of continuously identifying a wide spectrum of viral targets, including previously unknown viruses. This sensor will rely on graphene Field Effect Transistors (gFETs). The project FLUFET is supported by the European Union, under project number 101130125.

By detecting infectious zoonotic threats before they spread to humans, FLUFET will play a crucial role in preventing potential outbreaks. It opens the door to a pandemic prevention continuum. Moreover, FLUFET’s capabilities extend to incorporating long-distance external factors that significantly impact global human health.

The kick-off meeting of the project was held on April 3-4 in Coruña, hosted by the project coordinator Universidade da Coruña.

Photo from the project kick-off meeting at Universidade da Coruña.

The FLUFET project offers exciting opportunities for various stakeholders:

  • Health and pandemics experts
  • Managers
  • Policymakers and regulatory bodies
  • Animal farmers and their associations
  • Precision livestock farming solution providers
  • Investors
  • Researchers across multiple disciplines involved in the consortium.

To achieve its goals, FLUFET requires an interdisciplinary consortium, including partners specializing in computational biophysics, graphene technology, nanotechnology, sensing, microfluidics, virology, surface engineering, and sensor design and electronics. The project will last 42 months.

Two project partners have already announced open positions related to the project. INL announces a post-doctoral position in biophysics for viral detection,  and ICGEB announces a postdoctoral position in molecular virology and biochemistry.