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CenTrAd inaugurated at CLSU

June 12, 2022 Cory Martinez 695 views

THE management of transboundary animal diseases can now be done with the recent inauguration of the country’s first Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (CenTrAD) at the Central Luzon State niversity (CLSU).

Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the inauguration of CenTrAD which is expected to break new ground in the emergency management of transboundary animal diseases through surveillance, detection, mapping, diagnosis, analysis, prevention and control following acceptable international standards.

The CenTrAD is a joint project between the DAthrough its Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and CLSU.

During the ceremony, Dar stressed that the African Swine Fever (ASF), which nearly wiped out the country’s billion-peso hog industry in 2019, will not be the last disease that can wreak havoc to the Philippines’ animal sector.

“Let us learn from ASF. We cannot anymore put our animal industry at risk like that. We have to have a mindset that another outbreak can always come anytime like the ASF, so we must be prepared,” Dar said.

Funded through Republic Act 11494 or “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act,” CenTrAD shall serve as the country’s premier hub for animal health innovation, focusing on accelerating the development of vaccines against transboundary and emerging animal diseases.

Aside from these priority focus, Dar recommended strategies in operationalizing CenTrAD, which include building a network of partners involving other academic and scientific institutions to expand human capital; putting up a fellowship program for various research activities; and establishing adjunct scientist appointments, comprised of willing and able retired experts and scientists within and outside the university.

“I have employed the very same measures during my stint as Director General of ICRISAT in India, and these resulted to knowledge networks where a vast of scientists and experts there, whether young or old, collaborated for one shared goal: to innovate and transform agriculture. And they did,” Dar said, adding that ICRISAT generated more funds from partners as a result of the initiative.

Dr. Virginia Venturina, CenTrAD project leader and College of Veterinary Science and Medicine (CVSM) dean, meanwhile, showcased the P90-million worth of cutting edge equipment employed in the Center.

According to Venturina, the Center “will provide a timely, rapid, and accurate disease reporting to institute early response from detection to containment.”

Aside from basic research, Dar also instructed CenTrAD to put premium to anticipatory research and come up with programs that are forward looking, so that risk aversion and response measures are already in place even before a health crisis hits the ground.

Major academic partners of CLSU in the implementation of CenTrAD include Cavite State University, Central Bicol State University, Central Mindanao University, Isabela State University, Visayas State University, Tarlac State University, Cagayan State University, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, and Pampanga State Agricultural University.

On Sept. 23, 2020, Dar and CLSU President Edgar Orden along with key officials of DA and CLSU signed the memorandum of agreement for the establishment of CenTrAD worth P234 million.