IVVN Annual Report 2022

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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 five years ago, the IVVN has welcomed 1,700 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.

Cattle in a field

Funders publish survey results giving insight on veterinary vaccinology gaps, priorities and barriers

A survey of veterinary vaccinology researchers has highlighted the need for more collaboration with industry and investment in novel vaccine technology platforms.

UKRI-BBSRC, one of the funders of the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network (IVVN), surveyed the veterinary vaccinology community in July 2021, with 122 respondents taking part. The survey was conducted on behalf of the Star-Idaz International Research Consortium on Animal Health and in consultation with other research funders and programme owners, including the IVVN.

Respondents taking part in the survey were asked to rate the importance of research and innovation gaps within different fields of veterinary vaccinology. These gaps were identified by a working group, and respondents were also given the opportunity to provide additional gaps.

The report highlighted the importance of partnering with industry as well as maintaining sustainable and open access to immunological tools and associated databases. The survey also showed a need to develop and validate new tools that will enable immunological research in the natural host and/or the best model species for animal diseases. Additional gaps identified included the need to discover and validate new adjuvants, and to incorporate tools such as bioinformatics with wet lab work to assist in veterinary vaccine research and development.

For the full survey results and conclusions, please download the full survey report.