Vish Nene, one of the scientific organizers of the conference and a co-leader of the Animal and Human Health program at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, gave a particularly lucid talk at the pre-meeting workshop on Novel tools and genomics approaches supporting vaccine development. The following is a transcript of Nene’s talk, lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
A new paper by researchers at ILRI describes development of an effective experimental and thermostable vaccine against ‘peste des petits ruminants’, or PPR for short, a disease more commonly known as sheep and goat plague.
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.