IVVN Annual Report 2022

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The IVVN hosts a regular series of online seminars, which have seen internationally renowned speakers presenting on a wide range of topics and engaging in discussion with IVVN members.

IVVN webinars hosted in the last year

New developments in vaccines against African swine fever

30 November 2021      Watch this webinar

This webinar on African swine fever virus vaccine development was presented by Dr Lucilla Steinaa from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya. This virus causes devastating hemorrhagic disease in pigs and wild boars and has spread from Africa to Eastern Europe, Asia and more recently the Americas. Dr Steinaa’s research has established reverse genetics and CRISPR/Cas 9 gene editing platforms to make attenuated versions of the virus for use as a live vaccine. She discussed the process of making and testing these attenuated viruses, as well as work to screen for antigens to be used in subunit vaccines.

New sights on PPR pathogenesis and development of PPR live attenuated DIVA vaccines using reverse genetics approach

14 December 2021      Watch this webinar

This webinar on peste des petits ruminants (PPR) virus vaccine development was presented by Professor Satya Parida, Laboratory and Vaccine Specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, and Visiting Professor at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London. PPR places a huge disease burden on agriculture across large parts of the world. Vaccines are available but current tests cannot differentiate between infected and vaccinated animals (DIVA). Professor Parida spoke about efforts to develop DIVA-compliant vaccines.

The development of African horse sickness virus-like particle vaccines produced in plants

25 January 2022      Watch this webinar

This webinar on African horse sickness (AHS) virus vaccine development was presented by Dr Ann Meyers from the Biopharming Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. AHS is a devastating and economically important disease spread by midges in sub-Saharan Africa. Current live vaccines lack DIVA compliance and there is a risk of reversion to virulence. Dr Meyers spoke about the development of a virus-like particle vaccine candidate made in plants which lacks viral genetic material.

The role of vaccination in the future control of high pathogenicity avian influenza: challenges and perspectives

22 February 2022      Watch this webinar

This webinar on high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) vaccine development was presented by Professor Ian Brown from the Animal and Plant Health Agency, United Kingdom. HPAI has spread transcontinentally over the last 20 years, affecting all types of poultry production systems. Professor Brown discussed the logistical and practical considerations for next generation vaccines against HPAI, and how the constantly changing nature of the virus presents challenges for efficacious vaccine development.

AgResults foot-and-mouth disease vaccine challenge initiative for Eastern Africa

21 April 2022      Watch this webinar

The topic of this webinar was the GALVmed-led AgResults AgResults Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine Challenge Project. It was presented by Nina Henning and Dr Jef Hammond from GALVmed, who discussed the unique approach of the project – an eight-year, US$17.68 million prize competition that supports the development and uptake of high-quality quadrivalent FMD vaccines tailored to meet the needs of Eastern Africa. They discussed current progress and challenges, and the public-private partnership framework involved.

Vaccines against babesiosis: where we are now and possible roads ahead

18 May 2022      Watch this webinar

This webinar on bovine babesiosis was presented by Dr Monica Florin-Christensen from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), Argentina. Babesiosis commonly results in substantial cattle morbidity and mortality, and is caused by tick-transmitted haemoprotozoans in the genus Babesia. There are live vaccines available against babesiosis but these have considerable disadvantages, and better strategies are required. Dr Florin-Christensen presented a history of vaccine development work as well as research approaches towards the generation of improved formulations.

Ensuring vaccine quality in Africa: the role of the African Union Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC)

28 September 2022      Watch this webinar

This webinar discussed the work of the African Union Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC), and was presented by Dr Nick Nwankpa, the centre’s director. The centre was established following concerns that some vaccines used in the Joint Project 15 rinderpest campaign in the 1980s did not meet international quality standards. Its mandate was expanded to include quality control of all vaccines used in Africa, and today it continues to play a major role in ensuring the quality of vaccines and reagents.

Webinars co-hosted with partner organisations

The IVVN has also co-hosted two events with other organisations in the past year: a discussion on bovine Mycoplasma co-hosted with our US vaccine network colleagues, and a webinar on multivalent vaccines for Rift Valley fever, co-hosted with Canada's International Development Research Centre.

Joint webinar with US vaccine network sheds light on bovine Mycoplasma vaccines

23 March 2022      Watch this webinar

In March this year, we joined forces with the US Animal Vaccine Research Coordination Network (USAVRCN) to host a webinar on immune responses and vaccination efforts for bovine disease caused by Mycoplasma species.

M. mycoides is a widespread bacterial pathogen that causes contagious bovine pleuropneumonia in cattle and other bovids, with severe outbreaks occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. A related species, M. bovis, causes mastitis and respiratory disease in cattle and bison, especially in North America.

The webinar convened three experts in the fields of mycoplasmology, vaccinology and immunology to discuss these two important pathogens, the challenges of developing vaccines against them, and the immune responses to M. mycoides and M. bovis in cattle.

The session was chaired by Professor Brian Perry, IVVN board member and coordinator of our webinar series, and Professor Steve Geary, director of USAVRCN.

Our first speaker of the day was Professor Jörg Jores from the University of Bern, Switzerland. Professor Jores gave a presentation titled ‘Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia: current vaccines and future perspectives’.

The second speaker was Dr Jose Perez-Casal from the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), Canada. Dr Perez-Casal’s presentation was titled ‘Current challenges for the development of a vaccine for control of Mycoplasma bovis disease in cattle’.

The session’s final speaker was Professor Cynthia Baldwin from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States. Professor Baldwin presented ‘Evaluation of the immune response for protective immunity’.

After the presentations, we held a panel discussion, with the speakers answering questions from the audience. We are grateful to all the speakers and participants for their time, and to the USAVRCN team for their collaboration on this exciting topic.

Webinar with IDRC focuses on efforts to develop multivalent Rift Valley fever vaccines

6 July 2022      Watch this webinar

In July, we co-hosted a webinar on the zoonotic viral disease Rift Valley fever (RVF) with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Two early career researchers from the Moroccan animal health company MCI Santé Animale presented their work and answered questions from the online audience.

RVF is a vector-borne disease of sheep, cattle and goats that causes abortion of foetuses and mortality in young animals. It can also spread to humans where it usually presents as a mild flu-like illness, but can lead to life-threatening complications.

Solid herd immunity through livestock vaccination could control RVF epizootics, but the disease occurs as severe episodes separated by long periods without visible disease, making it difficult to achieve enough vaccine uptake.

A project at MCI Santé Animale funded through IDRC’s Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund (LVIF) seeks to develop combined vaccines for RVF and other pathogens that occur in the same regions: peste des petits ruminants (PPR) virus, and the capripoxviruses that cause sheeppox and lumpy skin disease. Combining vaccines could make RVF vaccination more practical during periods between epizootics.

At the webinar, Youness Es-Sadeqy presented the sheep and goat pox and lumpy skin disease aspects of the project. The work he described revealed a viral interference between capripoxviruses and the RVF virus, which has made the development of a combined vaccine difficult.

Dr Zahra Bamouh described the second aspect, which involved evaluation of a safe and efficient combined live vaccine against RVF and PPR.

The speakers were introduced by Dr Victor Mbao, Senior Program Specialist at IDRC, and the question-and-answer session was moderated by IVVN board member Professor Brian Perry.

We are grateful to the speakers for their time, to everyone who attended and asked questions, and to the IDRC team. We hope to feature more LVIF projects in future webinars.