Combating avian influenza through systematic analysis of antigenic drift, genetic variation, and development of novel diagnostic tools and vaccines
Avian Influenza (AI) viruses cause devastating economic losses and pose risks for both animal and human health, particularly among poor farmers who work in conditions where infections risks are high. The spread of AI can be limited by vaccination and slaughter, but the socio-economic costs can be prohibitively high for those in developing countries.
There are multiple strains of the virus circulating which can evolve rapidly; compromising the effectiveness of both diagnostics and vaccines. This requires broadly cross-reactive vaccines and vigilant surveillance to identify the circulating virus strains. Researchers from the UK, Vietnam and Pakistan are working together to identify cross-protective antigens in order to develop new multifaceted vaccines that can protect against AI as well as other endemic diseases such as Duck Plague and Marek's disease.
Detailed assessments are being undertaken to evaluate how our novel developed vaccines and pen-side diagnostics can benefit stakeholders. Field trials, modelling, case studies and community-based activities will improve understanding about the impact of AI and how different control strategies can help protect livelihoods, public health, and food security.
This four-year ZELS research programme (Grant Reference: BB/L018853/1) is being undertaken by a consortium of following eight multidisciplinary research teams from United Kingdom, Vietnam and Pakistan.
- Dr Munir Iqbal: The Pirbright Institute
- Dr. Juliet Bryant: Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), Hanoi)
- Prof Maciej Boni Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) Ho Chi Minh City.
- Dr To Long Thanh: National Centre for Veterinary Diagnostics (NCVD), Hanoi.
- Prof Tahir Yaqub: University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), Lahore).
- Dr Khalid Naeem: (National Reference Laboratory for Poultry Diseases, Islamabad)