New IDRC funding backs VIDO-InterVac research to benefit cattle producers in Kenya

Jan 29, 2015

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 to develop 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 director of VIDO-InterVac. “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.”

The new funding is provided through Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF). $1.7 million will be provided to VIDO-InterVac 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 more than $60 million in losses annually. A related species of bacteria, Mycoplasma bovis, causes significant losses to North American cattle and bison producers.

The new grant will fund 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 (KEVEVAPI) and will be accessible to all farmers.

In addition to advancing food security, Volker Gerdts, VIDO-InterVac’s associate director of research, emphasized the project will support development of international researchers and provide valuable opportunities for training for students and professionals. Knowledge generated from this project will also advance understanding and development of vaccines for mycoplasma diseases affecting North American cattle and bison.