EuFMD Open Session 2018: Global Vaccine Security, Borgo Egnazia, Puglia, Italy

Over 300 delegates from over 40 countries assembled for the biannual European Commission for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (EuFMD) Open Session in beautiful Borgo Egnazia, Puglia, Italy from Sunday 28 October through Wednesday 31 October 2018.  The theme of the Open Session was Global Vaccine Security: Increasing Global Security in the Supply of Effective FMD Vaccines.

The Open Session began with registration and a reception on Sunday 28 October.  On Monday 29 October the session was officially opened by Dr Jean-Luc Angot, President of the EUFMD Commission; Dr Eoin Ryan, Chairperson of the Standing Technical Committee; Dr Silvio Borrello of the Ministero della Salute of Italy, and members of the committee.

Dr Keith Sumption, Executive Secretary of the EuFMD and member of the IVVN External Advisory Group, then delivered a stirring keynote providing a Global Overview.  Keith defined global vaccine security as the confidence that vaccines be affordable, available, effective and accessible by stakeholders.  One of the key questions raised by Keith was “Can we really manage the risks and achieve progressive FMD control without global vaccine security”.  He identified some of the key challenges related to achieving vaccine security, including the frequency of emergence of new strains, the exceptional virus infectivity and speed of spread, the impact on producers and the lack of security that comes from the limited and uncertain access to suitable vaccines.  Keith said there is no global vaccine security at present.  As he wrote on the Open Session website:

“Without vaccine security, we need elaborate and well drilled preparedness for an FMD emergency, to contain incursions before they outstrip vaccine supply.  In endemic regions, millions of animals – and their owners – cannot access effective vaccines when they need them so lack of supply does matter for food security and livelihoods.”

Dr Don King then delivered the “Global Status Report for FMD: Tracking the Emergence and Spread of New Viral Lineages”, the second keynote.  One of the lineages Don highlighted – a new strain of FMD that emerged in Nepal – illustrated two challenges: the problem of rapid evolutionary change, and the problem of unsampled cases.

The second general session was on the scale of the problem, and included excellent talks ranging from the local perspective of “Household Perceptions of Risk as Drivers for Adoption of FMD Vaccination” in Tanzania (Ashley Railey) to the more global “Understanding Vaccine Demand in Endemic Settings” (Corissa Miller).  Chris Bartels spoke on “Assessment of the Risk of Incursion of Exotic FMD Viruses into Southeast Asia” and characterised the main considerations for vaccine development and manufacturing as either project-based, or the more commercially and politically significant considerations of market-driven development.

The Open Session then split into two sessions for the rest of the afternoon and the morning of Day 2.  The themes of the plenary sessions included:

  • Vaccine supply (Day 1)
  • Breaking barriers (Day 1)
  • Vaccine selection (Day 2)
  • Conventional vaccines (Day 2)

The themes of the parallel sessions included:

  • Virology (Day 1)
  • Immunopathology (Day 1)
  • Modelling free and non-free areas (Day 2)
  • Modelling business security during outbreaks (Day 2)

All delegates reassembled for the joint plenary sessions on the afternoon of Day 2.  During the session on “Championing new vaccines”, IVVN co-director and director of the Pirbright Institute, Prof Bryan Charleston delivered the keynote on “Vaccine Efficacy (Vaccine Efficiency of FMD Virus-like Particles produced by the Baculovirus Expression System)”.  Bryan talked about vaccine efficacy in terms of a cost-benefit analysis, focussing on Tanzania.  He identified two significant considerations for development and manufacturing vaccines: assured supply, and the availability of export markets.  Bryan also discussed the importance of capsid integrity for potent vaccines and translation strategies.  The next two keynotes were delivered by Teresa de los Santos of the USDA, who spoke on “The GMO (Adenovirus) option”, and Mercedes Mourino of Zoetis on “Attenuated FMD Vaccines (FMD-LL3B3D vaccine platform: safe, highly potent, fully DIVA compatible, inactivated FMD virus vaccines).”

Day 2 ended with another series of diverse talks in two plenary sessions on “The future of FMD vaccines” and “Vaccine efficacy and effectiveness – improving the use of field studies”.

The final day of the conference offered three options in the morning.  There were plenary sessions on the themes of “Africa Epi-Net” and “Diagnoses and Diagnostic Tools”.  The parallel sessions were on “Improving conventional vaccines” and “Vaccine Q & A”.  The third option was the “EuFMDis Demonstration and Debate”.

The afternoon of Day 3 offered sessions on “Middle East and Asia Epi-Net” and “Vaccine Performance”.

Over the course of the three day EuFMD Open Session, there were eighty-one talks by a wide-ranging group of international experts from research and academic institutions, industry, governmental agencies, regulatory affairs, NGOs and international agencies.  Dozens of posters were exhibited, there were interesting demonstrations, and a great deal of discussion and debate about FMD and many other diseases.

Thanks to the Herculean work of the outstanding EuFMD team, delegates enjoyed the hospitality of Borgo Egnazia.  The excellent coffee breaks, lunches and dinners, were an essential part of the EuFMD experience and afforded wonderful opportunities to meet new people from all over the world working in all aspects of veterinary vaccinology.  There is a highly productive sense of community, and many new opportunities for international collaborations and translational research were created through the collegial atmosphere and beautiful surroundings.

Some of the other highlights of the Open Session included talks by Pascal Hudelet (Veterinary Public Health Centre, Boehringer Ingelheim, France), François Maree (Agricultural Research Centre, South Africa); Koen Mintiens (UN FAO, Italy); Bouda Ahmadi (University of Edinburgh, UK); Mariano Pérez-Filgueira (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria, Argentina); Kirsten Tjørnehøj (Lindholm, Denmark); Wilna Vosloo (CSIRO-Australian Animal Health Laboratory); Melissa McLaws (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), Abdoulay Diaoure (Vétérinaires Sans Frontières, Mali), and Noel Aineplan (Uganda National Drug Authority).

Noel talked about the Pharmaceutical Policy in the East African Community – joint regulatory agreements between six nations in East Africa – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.  The policy offers an interesting example and potential model for other regional regulatory zones, to aid researchers, developers, manufacturers and distributors contribute to the mission of global vaccine security.

The EuFMD Open Session 2018 on Global Vaccine Security concluded on the afternoon of Wednesday 31 October.  The EuFMD awarded prizes for the best talks and posters, including a lifetime achievement award for Tim Doel.  Keith Sumption delivered the final wrap-up, acknowledgements and concluding remarks on the Open Session.  Keith reiterated that the many insights, perspectives and discussions show that quality vaccines are not enough, that the need for vaccine security is key, specifically the confidence that vaccines be affordable, available, effective and accessible by stakeholders.

Recordings of all the excellent talks are available through the EuFMD Open Session website:

https://mailchi.mp/fao/an-update-from-the-eufmd

More images are available on the EuFMD Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/eufmd/) and flickr accounts (https://www.flickr.com/photos/eufmd/page1).

Thank you very much to the EuFMD team, to the UN FAO, to all the speakers and presenters, and all the sponsors.  The IVVN was honoured to attend the Open Session 2018 and to be part of such an auspicious occasion and vibrant community.

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Courtesy of EuFMD: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eufmd/page3