The experience of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partner scientists in 2015–2016 unmistakably identifies the potential benefits to smallholder farmers and consumers of research into livestock and human health. Smallholder farmers could potentially save hundreds of millions of US dollars annually, following breakthroughs in the development of vaccines for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and Rift Valley fever, the latter posing a serious threat to human as well as animals. However, it was the participation in high-level fora and implementation strategies which are likely to deliver the rapid life changes for smallholder farmers on the ground.
A first look at a revamped ILRI research program: Animal and Human Health
Tremendous research progress has been made over the last ten years to better control the deadly African disease of cattle known as East Coast fever. This disease is caused by a single-celled organism, Theileria parva, which is carried by some tick species. Cattle become infected when a tick carrying the parasite takes a blood-meal from the animal over several days.
Today and tomorrow (31 May–1 Jun 2016), Chatham House, the Livestock Global Alliance (LGA), the One Health Platform and other One Health partners are convening senior policymakers, academics, multilateral development agencies, business leaders and other private-sector stakeholders to discuss livestock’s role in poverty reduction, sustainable livestock production systems, innovations in livestock vaccines and diagnostics and the value of establishing national and regional One Health centres to provide advice on links among agriculture, sustainable livestock systems and human development.
We used a reverse vaccinology approach to identify 66 Mmm potential vaccine candidates. The selection and grouping of the antigens was based on the presence of specific antibodies in sera from CBPP-positive animals. The antigens were used to immunize male Boran cattle (Bos indicus) followed by a challenge with the Mmm strain Afadé.
A new study published in the science journal Emerging Infectious Diseases reports that two individuals in Kenya have tested positive for the presence of antibodies to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV). Neither person is ill nor do they recall having any symptoms associated with MERS. There is no evidence of a public health threat and scientists concluded that the infections caused little or no clinical signs of illness. But they plan follow-up studies, as this is the first indication of a MERS-CoV infection that is not connected to primary infections in the Middle East.
With colleagues from the Jenner and Pirbright institutes in the UK, Nairobi’s Strathmore University and institutions in Saudi Arabia and Spain, scientists and technicians in a vaccine biosciences program of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, have recently published a paper in Nature announcing a breakthrough in development of a ‘One Health’ vaccine that could protect both people and livestock from Rift Valley fever.