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An Update from the ADV Grant Fund Committee

The American Ferret Association (AFA) and the League of Independent Ferret Enthusiasts (LIFE) are joining forces against Aleutians Disease Virus (ADV), a parvovirus which affects ferrets, mink and several other species. There is no cure, and the disease is generally terminal in affected ferrets.

In order to further ADV research, an ADV Grant Fund Committee has been established. All proceeds from the Grant Fund will be awarded to one or more grant recipients for the purpose of furthering ADV-related studies.

Fundraising Efforts to Date... Over $3,700 Has Been Raised!
The ADV Grant Fund Committee is collecting funds from a variety of sources including, but not limited to: donations and raffles at ferret shows across the U.S., contributions mailed or phoned into the Committee from concerned ferret owners, internet fund transfers sent to the AFA via PayPal, gifts made in response to publicity in the American Ferret Report, and finally donations directly from people who have ADV positive ferrets.

 
If you would like to make a tax-deductable donation, please call 1-888-FERRET-1, mail a check to the ADV Grant Fund c/o AFA, PO Box 255 Crownsville MD 21032, or send a payment to afa@ferret.org via PayPal (be sure write "ADV Grant Fund Donation" in the notes field). Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

The ADV Grant Review Board will review proposals submitted to the Committee from research scientists from across the USA and will allocate the appropriate funds to those research projects that the Board finds the the most promising.

 
If you are a researcher interested in submitting a grant proposal, please contact the American Ferret Association at 1-888-FERRET-1 or afa@ferret.org.

ADV Grant Review Board Members
The members of the ADV Grant Review Board consist of veterinarians, ferret breeders, ferret shelter directors, members of the AFA, members of the League of Independent Ferret Enthusiasts (LIFE), and medical doctors.

  1. Dr. James G. Fox - Professor and Director of Comparative Medicine at M.I.T.
  2. Dr. Marshall Bloom M.D. - Medical Officer (Research) for the Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, NIAID, NIH
  3. Dr. Jennifer Au - a ferret-knowledgable veterinarian from VA
  4. Dr. Leo V. Gates III, DVM - from the Universal City Animal Hospital in Universal City, TX
  5. Ms. Sally Heber - AFA Treasurer & Judges' Administrator
  6. Mr. Chris Palaski - AFA Health Affairs Committee Director
  7. Ms. Anne Ryan - LIFE President
As you can see, these members compose a wide variety of ferret knowledgable minds from around the country, all focused on what is going to be the most promising new research for ferrets and ADV in the future.

Where Are We Now?
Four proposals were submitted, ranging in focus from ADV testing to vaccine development research. In November, these proposals were mailed to all members of the Review Committee, and now each member of the Board is reviewing them. While the review was to be completed by December 15th, that deadline has been extended until January 15th of 2001 to allow a more thorough review of the materials presented and to permit additional meeting time for Board members.

Where Are We Going?
The funds will be awarded according to the ADV Grant Review Board's decision to be made in February 2001. Depending upon the Committee's recommendation, the funds will be awarded to one or more proposals. Each Committee member will recommend what percentage of the funds should be allotted to each researcher.

How Will the Board Decide?
The selection of the candidate will involve

  • a careful inspection of his or her scientific practices
  • the amount of money that the average ferret owner will have to spend to obtain the testing/treatment offered by these proposals
  • the viability of the test itself (i.e. will it give us more information than the United CEP test that is currently being used to test for ADV. The CEP test provides a positive or negative result only)
  • and, of course the overall effect that it wil have on ferrets in general.

For example, if Candidate #1 is developing a test that will allow the use of urine/saliva to test for ADV instead of blood, that may be a very practical approach to the general public. However, if each test is going to cost $100 dollars and will only tell us what we already know via the United CEP testing (i.e. a positive or negative) then that is more than likely not going to be a great help to ferrets or ferret owners in the long run.

There are many factors involved in making this decision, and none of of them will be taken lightly. We want to award your hard earned donations to the best possible research hope for ferrets.

Future Plans
The ADV Grant Fund Committee will continue in its efforts to raise funds for and awareness of ADV in the ferret community. When the Fund's coffers once again reach $4,000, a new ADV Grant Review Board will be convened so that new ADV research projects may benefit and so that the donations can again be allocated to the most promising cause.

Thank you for your time and patience. The ADV Grant Fund Committee has been working hard for the past few month to fund the most promising ferret research into ADV. Any questions regarding the ADV Grant Fund Committee or ADV in general may be directed to the AFA Health Affairs Committee Director/ADV Grant Fund Committee Project Manager, Mr. Christopher C. Palaski at ChrisAndTara@ferretrescue.com or you may contact the American Ferret Association at 1-888-FERRET-1 or afa@ferret.org.