A non-replicative adenovirus vaccine platform for poultry diseases

April 09, 2018
Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund

Photo: Sven Torfinn/Panos Pictures

Poultry are a vital livestock asset in sub-Saharan Africa, especially for the food security and economic independence of rural women and youth. During financial crises, poultry become critical to food security due to their versatility and independence. Newcastle disease (ND) is one of the most infectious poultry diseases in the world, with the ability to wipe out entire flocks in only a few days. The disease is the seventh most significant cause of global animal losses, so the economic costs of ND are massive.

Why is an improved ND vaccine necessary?

ND control through vaccination is the most cost-effective intervention, especially in low-income areas where other prevention options, such as sanitary measures, are not feasible. Current ND vaccines are a live but weakened form of the virus that provide poor and short-lived protection. They also occasionally return to their harmful state and they are unaffordable for smallholder farmers.

Developing an innovative solution

Using a non-replicative adenovirus to transfer genetic material into cells, researchers will generate two proteins (HN and F) that are known targets of protective immunity against ND. Unlike traditional ND vaccines that are produced using eggs, the resulting vaccine will be produced in a cell culture system, therefore substantially reducing the cost of production. This adenovirus approach has been used with success in vaccines for other animal diseases, but has not yet been tried for ND.

Expected results

The overall expected result of this project is a safe, effective, and easy to produce vaccine against Newcastle disease for use in low and middle income settings. The project will also build the technical capacity of the National Veterinary Institute in Ethiopia to develop and produce adenovirus vaccines. An improved, effective, and affordable ND vaccine will ensure nutrition and economic security for smallholder chicken farmers in Africa and Asia, particularly for women and youth.

Lead institutions

This project is a collaboration between McGill University (Montreal, Canada), The National Veterinary Institute (Ethiopia), and the Institut Pasteur de Tunis (Tunisia).

  • Duration: 30 months
  • Budget: CA$1 million