Notes on the book Veterinary Vaccines: Principles and Applications

04 Oct 2021

By Baptiste Dungu

Since the 1980s the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has been producing manuals and technical publications on the production and quality control of certain critical livestock vaccines, which have guided several vaccine manufacturers, especially in developing countries, to maintain the production and supply of much-needed livestock vaccines. Beside disease- or vaccine-specific publications, a manual titled Vaccine Manual: The production and quality control of veterinary vaccines for use in developing countries was published in 1997.

While very popular among livestock vaccine developers, manufacturers and veterinary services, the manual required serious update to include the fast evolving vaccinology field, and other technological progress of the following two decades.

Instead of just a review of the Vaccine Manual, it was felt necessary to broaden the scope and consider the rapid progress in vaccinology and trends on both vaccine design, regulatory environment, quality aspects and field application during vaccination processes.

Veterinary Vaccines: Principles and Applications, launched in July 2021, covers advice and recommendations for vaccine production, quality control, and effective vaccination schemes including vaccine selection, specifications, vaccination programs, vaccine handling in the field, application, failures, and assessment of herd protection. In addition, the book presents discussions on the current status and potential future developments of vaccines and vaccination against selected transboundary animal diseases.

The book also discusses certain current issues that will impact animal health, disease control and vaccinology in many years to come, such as antimicrobial resistance, food safety and security, emerging and re-emerging diseases, vaccine banks etc.

Edited by Dr Samia Metwally and Dr Ahmed El Idrissi from the FAO and Dr Gerrit Viljoen from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the book is structured in four sections, with a total of 29 chapters written by 97 authors from 51 institutions. The four sections are (1) Importance of veterinary vaccines to livestock, (2) Current and future veterinary vaccines: viral, bacterial, mycoplasma, protozoal, parasitic, fish, novel vaccines; (3) Aspects of vaccine production, quality control, and distribution and (4) Veterinary vaccines for selected animal diseases.

Though a few IVVN members have contributed to several chapters, below I briefly discuss the two chapters I authored with experienced colleagues.

Chapter 5: Viral vaccines

  • This chapter is under section 2, and is authored by B Dungu and M Donadeu.
  • In the chapter, viral vaccines are discussed through different classifications. From the commonly used differentiation between conventional (live attenuated and inactivated vaccines) versus novel biotechnology-derived vaccines, viral vaccines are described here based on the end results, into three categories:
    1. Replicating or live vaccines: including conventional attenuated live vaccines; live gene-deletion attenuation vaccines; and recombinant live vectored vaccines.
    2. Non-replicating or replication restricted vaccines: conventional inactivated vaccines, and sub-unit vaccines.
    3. DNA-based vaccines.
  • Classification of viral vaccines based on specific properties, such as the ability to act as a marker vaccine, to prevent infection or disease or to be used therapeutically are also discussed.
  • Certain technologies that have proven effective after the finalisation of the chapter will certainly form part of future editions.

Chapter 19: Rift Valley fever

  • Authored by B Dungu and M Bouloy, RVF is covered as one of the 13 diseases selected under section 4. It is a zoonosis with a particular epidemiology characterised by long inter-epidemic periods, vector transmission linked to environmental and climatic conditions, for which vaccination has proved to be the best control strategy.
  • Providing an historical review of the disease and describing key characteristics of the RVF virus that have led to the currently registered vaccines, the chapter also provides an overview of strategies used by different research groups and subsequent candidate vaccines evaluated by the time of the publication.
  • Though only 3 types of RVF vaccines are still currently registered for use in livestock, i.e. live vaccines based on the Smithburn and the 'Clone 13', and the inactivated form, several candidates which address key desired characteristics, such as differentiation between infected and vaccinated animals (DIVA), have been successfully evaluated to date and may be registered in the near future.