World Veterinary Vaccine Congress, Barcelona

Sagrada Família, Barcelona

The 3rd World Veterinary Vaccine Congress, alongside the 18th World Vaccine Congress and the 2nd Immune Profiling World Vaccine Congress, was hosted by the Crowne Plaza Hotel in sunny Barcelona from the 10th – 12th October 2017. This report will present highlights from the World Veterinary Vaccine Congress.

10th October 2017

The afternoon of the first day of the congress began with a talk from Dr. Joseph Domenech, a consultant who previously worked at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Animal disease is a major problem for animal productions and human health for a wide variety of reasons. In 2011, rinderpest was successfully eradicated due to an effective worldwide eradication programme. Dr. Domenech explained that eradication programmes are expensive and there is a need for a cost benefit analysis to be undertaken prior to implementation of an eradication programme. An example of this is VacciCost, which is a tool to estimate the costs of livestock vaccination campaigns. Dr. Domenech also presented strategies for disease control and eradication, using rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), peste des petits ruminants (PPR), brucellosis and rabies, as examples. Importantly, vaccination is key for eradication of these diseases.

The next presentation from Professor Adel M. Talaat, University of Wisconsin, introduced ‘nanovaccines’ as an example of a novel technology for immunisation of chickens against infections that affect human health. Polyanhydride nanoparticles provide a safe and persistent release of antigen to the host and importantly, specific proteins or inactivated viruses, can be incorporated. It is hypothesised that this slow, sustained release of antigen will improve the duration of immunity of a particular vaccine. Professor Talaat explained nanovaccine technology has shown promising levels of protection against avian influenza, and therefore could be applied to a variety of vaccination strategies.

Dr. Osama Ahmed Hassan Ahmed from Oslo University provided delegates with an insight into the challenges associated with the prevention and control of Rift Valley Fever. Rift Valley Fever is a viral zoonosis that causes serious disease in both animals and humans. It is key to improve early warning systems and to think about developing combination vaccines to protect livestock against a number of diseases. Furthermore, to combat Rift Valley Fever, a ‘One Health’ approach is required.

Continuing the ‘One Health’ theme, Professor Nikolai Petrovsky from Flinders University presented information on the development of adjuvants for both human and animal vaccines. An adjuvant called Advax™ has benefits to human and animal vaccination including: 1) non-inflammatory mechanism 2) induces both humoral and cellular immunity 3) overcomes the immaturity of the neonatal immune system and 4) induces cross-protective responses. Furthermore, there are additional benefits of  Advax™ to animals including: 1) low cost 2) easy formulation 3) sugar-based and 4) effective across a number of different species. Therefore, Advax™ is an optimal adjuvant for one health.

11th October 2017

The second day of the conference began with a talk from Dr. Dharanesh Gangaiah from Elanco who presented information on the prevention of food-borne diseases in poultry. Dr. Gangaiah explained that a Campylobacter vaccine that causes a two-log reduction in disease is perceived as a good vaccine candidate, and that subunit or DNA vaccines were the most promising for protection against Campylobacter. Salmonella vaccines generally have little cross-protection across the three prevalent serovars of Salmonella; however Elanco have developed a live attenuated vaccine that elicits protection against all three serovars. Rik Koopman from MSD Animal Health continued the theme of poultry vaccination by giving a talk on vaccine delivery. The primary requirements for vaccination of chickens are firstly, to vaccinate animals in ovo or at 1 day of age and secondly, to vaccinate chickens on a large scale. A double breast vaccinator from Nobilis permits intramuscular vaccination of chickens. Nobilis also have an injector delivery system with the capability to vaccinate 50,000 eggs per hour. Therefore, these technologies enable vaccination of eggs and chickens, and importantly, on a large scale.

At lunchtime, we presented our poster introducing delegates to the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network. Our network launched in August 2017 and so it was the perfect opportunity to spread the word about the aims and objectives of the network, and to recruit new members!

The afternoon began with a talk from Dr. Glen Gifford, based at the OIE headquarters in France. Dr. Gifford introduced a disease tracking resource produced by the OIE called the World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS). This system provides comprehensive real-time information on disease outbreaks worldwide. Ahead of World Antibiotic Awareness Week (13th to 19th November 2017), Dr. Gifford presented data on the prioritisation of diseases for which vaccines could reduce the use of antimicrobials in animals, and therefore preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. Dr. Gifford also commented on the importance of global vaccine research networks to pool resources and address gaps, for example STAR-IDAZ, which is a global network for animal disease research.

Professor Artur Summerfield, from the University of Bern and Institute of Virology and Immunology, discussed the role of ‘omics’ in veterinary vaccinology. A study published in Nature Immunology in 2009 illustrated that a systems biology approach could predict the immunogenicity of a yellow fever vaccine through identification of early gene signatures. Professor Summerfield’s laboratory have undertaken a similar ‘omics’ approach to determine the efficacy of vaccines in sheep. Therefore, systems biology could be employed widely in veterinary vaccinology, for example, to understand the impact of adjuvants on vaccination, or to identify innate correlates of protection.

A presentation on African Swine Fever was given by Dr. Marisa Arias from the EU Reference Laboratory for African Swine Fever. African swine fever virus (ASFV) infects domestic pigs, wild suids and warthogs, and is widespread in Europe and Africa. There have been various vaccine approaches tested, with live attenuated vaccines holding the most promise. In the absence of a vaccine, the focus is on early detection and sanitary methods. For example, the disease was eradicated in Cuba through improved sanitary methods alone. In addition to an effective vaccine, an appropriate differentiating infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA) diagnostic test is also required to control African Swine Fever.

12th October 2017

The final day of the congress began with a talk from Dr. Catherine Charreyre from Merial. Dr. Charreyre presented the requirements to develop veterinary vaccines for emerging and re-emerging diseases as even with the ‘One Health’ concept, the animal medicine market is different to the medicine market in humans. Dr. Charreyre also introduced the Zoonoses Anticipation and Preparedness Initiative (ZAPI) that is a collaborative partnership between more than 20 European partners. Furthermore, ZAPI is a ‘One Health’ project that brings together experts in animal and human health.

Professor van den Berg, from the Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre in Brussels, provided an overview of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD). Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), a virus from the family Poxviridae, is the causative agent of LSD. The disease affects cattle and water buffalo, and is a transboundary problem that is difficult to eradicate without an effective vaccine. Live attenuated vaccines provide a good level of protection in cattle, but currently there are no DIVA diagnostic vaccines available. Studies are currently underway in Brussels to assess the efficacy of LSD vaccines in vivo.

Dr. Arnaud Bataille from the PPR Reference Laboratory updated delegates on the state of affairs and the road towards eradication of PPR. PPR is a viral disease of goats and sheep that is widespread in Africa and Asia, and is a threat to Europe. It has a high economic impact and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and OIE have set a target of 2030 for global eradication of PPR. There are good conditions for success of the PPR eradication programme, but there are still gaps in our knowledge. To increase the chances of success, the following are required: strict vaccine quality control; thermostable vaccine candidates; an effective DIVA diagnostic and a vaccine that induces life long immunity. Ideally, ‘single shot’ vaccines that could protect livestock against an array of infectious agents, would also be available.

In the afternoon Professor Martin Vordermeier, based at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in England, updated delegates on the development of a DIVA diagnostic test for bovine tuberculosis. Bovine tuberculosis is endemic across the world and vaccination of both cattle, and the wildlife reservoirs of infection, would improve disease control. Current vaccination strategies involving Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) sensitise cattle to the tuberculin skin test. Therefore, a diagnostic test that differentiates infected from vaccinated animals is required. Professor Vordermeier’s laboratory have developed a diagnostic test using Mycobacterium bovis specific antigens that elicits an improved specificity and equivalent sensitivity to the tuberculin skin test, and importantly can differentiate infected from vaccinated animals in an experimental setting. The next step is to assess the specificity and sensitivity of this novel diagnostic test in the field.

Dr. Richard Mole, from Moredun Research Institute in Scotland, provided an overview of the research occurring within the Moredun Foundation. Moredun Research Institute aims to improve livestock health and welfare through prevention and control of infectious diseases, and importantly, they have a diverse range of livestock models. There is a range of vaccine research occurring at Moredun, including the development of a recombinant vaccine that protects lambs against infection with Teladorsagia circumcincta. Dr. Mole also introduced delegates to two consortiums funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme: VetBioNet and PARAGONE.

Thank you to the organisers for hosting such an excellent meeting. The next meeting of the World Veterinary Vaccine Congress will be on the 30th October – 1st November 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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