The geometry of disease: A longitudinal calf cohort study in Kenya has yielded a unique database and biorepository

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Fun with Lines and Curves by Elsie C. Ellison, 1972 (binding illustration).

The IDEAL project, first attempt to study

the complete pathogen landscape of any species,

has generated a unique dataset and biorepository

for researchers of infectious diseases

of cattle in East Africa.

‘The Infectious Diseases of East African Livestock (IDEAL) project was a longitudinal cohort study of calf health which was conducted in Western Kenya between 2007–2010. A total of 548 East African shorthorn zebu calves were recruited at birth and followed at least every 5 weeks during the first year of life. Comprehensive clinical and epidemiological data, blood and tissue samples were collected at every visit. These samples were screened for over 100 different pathogens or infectious exposures, using a range of diagnostic methods.

‘This manuscript describes this comprehensive dataset and bio-repository, and how to access it through a single online site. This provides extensive filtering and searching capabilities. These data are useful to illustrate outcomes of multiple infections on health, investigate patterns of morbidity and mortality due to parasite infections, and to study genotypic determinants of immunity and disease. . . .

‘In summary, this evolving dataset linked to its biorepository represents the first attempt to study the complete pathogen landscape of any species and a unique resource for the research community interested in infectious diseases of cattle in East Africa. The longitudinal collection of data allows the outcomes of multiple infections to be related to their effect on their host and their interaction with host genotype. We hope that this database will provide the opportunity for others to study the dynamics of infectious diseases, either as stand-alone work or used in synergy with other projects. The online format integrated with the biobank provides an opportunity to apply any new tools as they become available allowing new questions to be addressed.’

Read the whole IDEAL paper
IDEAL, the Infectious Diseases of East African Livestock project open access database and biobank, by Rebecca Callaby, Cezar Pendarovski, Amy Jennings, Samuel Thumbi Mwangi, Ilana Van Wyk, Mary Mbole-Kariuki, Henry Kiara (ILRI), Philip Toye (ILRI), Steve Kemp (ILRI), Olivier Hanotte (ILRI), Jacobus Coetzer, Ian Handel, Mark Woolhouse and Barend Mark de Clare Bronsvoort, 9 Jul 2020, Scientific Data 7: 224.

Find IDEAL samples meta-data
All the IDEAL samples meta-data can be found on the IDEAL project website:

Request IDEAL samples
The Azizi Biorepository maintains the samples on behalf of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Any use of the institute samples is regulated by ILRI which evaluates any requests for samples. In addition to the institute’s samples, the use of the IDEAL samples is regulated by the IDEAL project’s management committee.

Read more about ILRI’s Azizi Biorepository
ILRI News blog: ILRI’s ‘Azizi’ facility is storing samples of livestock and wildlife biodiversity for future research, 26 Jun 2020.

Read more about the IDEAL project
Reflections on IDEAL: What we have learnt from a unique calf cohort study, by Rebecca Callaby et al., Preventive Veterinary Medicine 181:105062.

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