A non-replicative adenovirus vaccine platform for poultry diseases – Phase 2
Poultry farming in Africa is one the biggest business opportunities on the continent. Chicken is the meat of choice for most Africans, with a total of 5.7 million tonnes of chicken meat produced in Africa in 2018, an increase of 4.2% from 2017.
Newcastle disease is one of the most critical diseases affecting poultry production in sub-Saharan Africa. Although reporting remains sporadic across the continent, some countries average 10 outbreaks per year, which significantly affect the local economy and food security.
Immunizations with inactivated or live vaccines are available and protective but they have several well-known disadvantages, including virus shedding by vaccinated birds, which can lead to disease in non-vaccinated poultry. The Newcastle disease vaccines that are currently available are produced in speciﬁc pathogen-free, embryonated chicken eggs that are expensive and imported from Europe. Egg production methods are not efficient compared to cell culture technologies and they are not adapted for rapid response in the case of emerging disease threats.
The first phase of this project, funded by the Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund (LVIF) in 2017, sought to develop a vaccine using a non-replicative human adenovirus vector. Preliminary proof of concept studies showed positive results. The aim of this second phase is to establish the optimum dose and finalize the proof-of-concept study. This phase, also supported by LVIF, will develop the manufacturing processes for a recombinant vaccine that is safer, more efficacious, and more cost-effective than the egg-based live Newcastle disease vaccines. More importantly, the same technology platform has the potential to be rapidly deployed to respond to other avian viral threats.
The Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund is a partnership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Affairs Canada, and IDRC. It represents a joint investment of CA$57 million over five years to support the development, production, and commercialization of innovative vaccines against priority livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.