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Collaborative Effort to Revolutionize African Swine Fever Vaccine Development

Published May. 13. 2024
Collaborative Effort to Revolutionize African Swine Fever Vaccine Development

The Pirbright Institute and The Vaccine Group (TVG) in Plymouth have embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration with the aim of transforming the landscape of African swine fever (ASF) vaccine development. This joint endeavor seeks to combat the deadly virus through innovative approaches and cutting-edge research.

ASF remains a formidable threat to global swine populations, with traditional vaccine methods proving ineffective against its relentless spread. The urgency to develop safe and effective vaccines has never been greater, given the substantial economic losses and the threat it poses to farmer livelihoods.

Led by Dr. Chris Netherton, head of Pirbright’s ASF Vaccinology research group, and in collaboration with Dr. Jeremy Salt, CEO, and Dr. Michael Jarvis, CSO, at TVG, this ambitious project is fueled by a combination of expertise in virology, immunology, and vaccine technology. Supported by funding from Defra and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the research endeavors to accelerate the development of novel ASF vaccine candidates over an 18-month period.

At the heart of this innovative approach lies the utilization of bovine herpesvirus 4 (BoHV-4) as a platform for ASF vaccine development. Leveraging recent advancements in ASF vaccinology and porcine immunology, the collaboration aims to revolutionize the conventional methods of vaccine production. By tapping into TVG’s proficiency in herpesvirus-based vaccine platforms, the team aspires to create vaccines that are not only safer but also more efficacious in conferring protection against ASF.

Dr. Netherton emphasizes the broader implications of their research beyond ASF, highlighting its potential impact on understanding immune responses to other swine pathogens such as porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus, swine influenza virus, and classical swine fever virus. This multidimensional approach underscores the significance of collaborative efforts in advancing the field of veterinary vaccinology.

Dr. Salt expresses his enthusiasm for the collaboration, recognizing the opportunity to address a pressing challenge in swine health. By synergizing TVG’s expertise in vaccine technology with Pirbright’s pioneering research in ASF, the collaboration aims to deliver innovative solutions with global implications. Their shared commitment to developing interventions that benefit both animal welfare and human communities underscores the ethos of One Health, a holistic approach that recognizes the interconnection between the health of humans, animals, and the environment.

The significance of this collaboration extends far beyond the laboratory. With ASF prevalent across continents and posing a significant threat to domestic swine and wild boar populations, the outcomes of this research have the potential to mitigate the impact of the disease on a global scale. By fostering partnerships between academia, industry, and government agencies, this collaborative effort exemplifies the collective resolve to address complex challenges in animal health.

As the battle against ASF rages on, the collaboration between The Pirbright Institute and TVG stands as a beacon of hope. Through their collective expertise, dedication, and innovation, they are pioneering a new frontier in ASF vaccine development, one that holds the promise of transforming the lives of millions of pigs and the communities that depend on them.

Join us at the 6th Vaccine World East Asia Congress on August 13th-14th, 2024, in Incheon, South Korea, where global leaders will unite to explore cutting-edge advancements in vaccine R&D and manufacturing. From groundbreaking immunology breakthroughs to transformative technologies, this congress promises to shape the future of vaccines worldwide. Don’t miss out on this vital platform for collaboration and innovation!

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