AHH / Animal Diseases / Cattle / East Africa / ECF / ILRI / LIVESTOCK-FISH / Vaccines

Time for a new-generation vaccine against East Coast fever in cattle in Africa

Last week (31 Jan 2014), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) announced that a consortium supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners has been formed to develop a new vaccine against East Coast fever. This is an often fatal tick-borne disease that affects millions of cattle in sub-Saharan Africa.

In this 5-minute film, Vish Nene, director of the vaccine biosciences program at ILRI, explains the importance of research on the development of a ‘new generation’ vaccine against East Coast fever.

‘There’s an East Coast fever ‘live’ vaccine (built on live parasites) that’s in use, and it’s highly effective, but the lengthy period required to produce it, its high cost (USD8–12 per animal) and the challenge of assuring its reproducibility mean it has some serious drawbacks in poor countries’, said Nene.

The current live vaccine was developed in the 1960s by the East African Veterinary Research Organization (now the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute), with refinements made over the years by KARI, ILRI, VetAgro (Tanzania) Limited and others.

According to Nene, ‘There’s already sufficient knowledge and experience, supported by recent scientific breakthroughs, to enable work on a new vaccine against the disease.’

‘The problem and need to address it remain unchanged’, Nene says, ‘but the science has evolved to such a degree that it’s now possible for us to make huge strides using new technologies that have become available only in the last few years.’

Read about the launch of the new consortium.

Watch a 3-min film on why East Coast fever matters to farmers in Africa.

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