Scientists at Moredun are working on a collaborative project to develop a new vaccine to protect livestock against foot and mouth disease (FMD). The collaborative partnership with Tiba Biotechnology in the USA and the Agricultural Research Council-Ondestepoort Veterinary Institute (ARC-OVI) in South Africa will leverage Moredun`s world class vaccinology experience.
The project aims to develop a synthetic RNA vaccine which will be easy to produce, thermostable and will protect livestock against multiple FMD virus strains. Engagement with regulators, public and private animal health practitioners and vaccine manufacturers will facilitate scale up of the production and use of the vaccine.
The project is funded by the Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund (LVIF), established by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada and Global Affairs Canada in recognition of the urgent need to invest in the development of novel livestock vaccine solutions for diseases that disproportionately affect poor livestock smallholders in low and middle income countries (LMICs).
FMD is the most contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals. Although it is usually a low mortality disease, effects of FMD on productivity result in significant farm income losses in LMICs every year. Current vaccines are based on old technology and are only effective against homologous strains of virus. Thus, multivalent vaccines are required to have any effect protecting animals from infection. A new design of the vaccine delivered by a synthetic RNA vector system holds the potential to deliver a much more effective, broadly protective and more affordable vaccine for FMD.
Dr Bill Golde, Moredun Principal Investigator, commented “We have assembled an exciting research team from Tiba Biotech and ARC-OVI to work on the development of this next generation FMD vaccine that will significantly reduce the impact of this devastating disease on livestock productivity.”