The International Veterinary Vaccinology Network is a global community of scientists and industry partners focusing on developing vaccines against important animal diseases.
Livestock agriculture is crucial for the economies of many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with the livelihoods of 1.7 billion people supported by the industry. Nutrient-rich and high-value livestock and fish products also play major roles in sustaining global food security and combatting malnutrition, and demand for these products is increasing as populations grow.
Veterinary diseases have devastating effects on livelihoods, animal welfare, human health and LMIC economies. Vaccines are the most effective means for combatting these diseases – but for many diseases, effective vaccines are either yet to be developed or are not reliably available where and when they are needed.
Developing and deploying a vaccine is a complex process that requires knowledge from a wide range of disciplines from epidemiology to immunology, and from industrial biotechnology to economics. There are often technical and logistical obstacles and bottlenecks, and these require the skills of multiple international specialists to overcome. Opportunities for establishing these important collaborations can be limited for many veterinary diseases, especially those relevant to LMIC settings.
The IVVN seeks to kindle and foster these essential collaborations. With our unique remit, we aim to help researchers, industrial partners and others work together towards developing vaccines specifically for high-consequence livestock (including poultry and aquaculture) diseases in LMICs. We do this through four areas of focus:
- Facilitating opportunities for networking to help establish new collaborations and exchange information.
- Supporting scientific collaboration by funding pump-priming projects and laboratory exchanges involving international partners.
- Training early career scientists to support the development of future international expertise.
- Promoting gender equality in veterinary vaccinology to help bridge the opportunity gap for women scientists and create a more diverse and inclusive research environment.
Since launching in 2017, the IVVN has welcomed 1,800 members from 93 countries. Members have benefited from networking opportunities and the exchange of knowledge and ideas at our international conferences in Nairobi and London, our workshops held around the world, and at our online events. We have supported 13 pump-priming grants and 11 laboratory exchanges, and we will be awarding more funding to our members later this month. Our conference grants and training courses have enabled early career researchers to gain new knowledge, make new connections and develop important skills. We are supporting the career advancement of a cohort of women postdoctoral scientists through our fellowship scheme, and we aim to encourage more girls to pursue scientific interests through our outreach programme. And the IVVN’s online content serves as a focal point where our global Network can find resources, events, opportunities, publications and news from their fellow members.
The IVVN is always seeking to expand our activities based our members’ needs and feedback. We are proud to play our part in supporting this important and thriving international community.