ObjectiveTo investigate ways to enhance prophylactic strategies against avian influenza virus.
BackgroundAvian influenza viruses (AIVs) are important health risks for poultry and humans. There have been several reports of highly pathogenic AIV outbreaks in several continents causing mortality in poultry and human populations. These outbreaks have raised the possibility of emergence of an AIV pandemic; which apart from loss of human lives, is estimated to cost close to one trillion dollars to the world economy. Several strategies exist for control of AIV in chickens, among which vaccination of susceptible birds is performed. However, there is a shortage of reliable and efficacious methods for containing AIV in chickens and disrupting its transmission from infected flocks to non-infected flocks, or to humans. Vaccination of chickens has been shown to be an effective way of reducing mortality and to some extent, virus shedding; however more work needs to be done to improve the efficacy of vaccines to control the virus in chickens. There is the concern that if virus shedding from infected birds is not effectively controlled, it might lead to evolution of virulence in the virus and its possible transmission to humans. Therefore development of more effective prophylactic strategies against the disease is urgently needed. The proposed study aims at developing efficacious strategies for control of the virus, especially as a part of an emergency response. A potential goal for the design of rational vaccines is to develop AIV vaccines that could effectively contain the virus.
Funding$500,825 (AAFC/CPRC $460,825, OMAF $40,000)
*This research is part of the Poultry Science Cluster 2 which is supported by AAFC as part of Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.