VIDO-InterVac researchers advance cattle disease research in Kenya

A team of scientists from the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) have been awarded nearly $5 million to continue their work in developing a vaccine to protect cattle against contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP).

"CBPP is highly contagious and kills a large percentage of the animals infected," said Andrew Potter, VIDO-InterVac's director. "Traditional approaches for disease control and vaccination have not been successful. This grant will help further VIDO-InterVac's international contributions to animal health as we work to develop a safe and effective vaccine for this disease."

Canada's International Development Research Centre and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada are supporting the project under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF). VIDO-InterVac will receive $1.7 million to advance the research from CIFSRF's first phase and develop an improved vaccine for CBPP.

CBPP, an infectious lung disease of cattle caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides, affects the livelihood of approximately 24 million Africans, causing over $60 million in losses annually. A similar species of bacteria, Mycoplasma bovis, generates significant losses to North American cattle and bison producers.

The new grant will fund the continued development and testing of several promising vaccine candidates with the ultimate goal of producing a heat-stable, cost-effective vaccine. The vaccine will be manufactured at the Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute and will ensure accessibility to all farmers.

In addition to advancing food security, Dr. Volker Gerdts, VIDO-InterVac's associate director of research, said that the project will support the development of international researchers and provide valuable opportunities for training. This research is of further value as the knowledge generated from this project will be used to advance the understanding and development of vaccines for mycoplasma diseases affecting North American cattle and bison.


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