Development of a vaccine for bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s disease in cattle

Team: Volker GerdtsPhilip Griebel, Scott Napper, Jeffrey Chen, Colette Wheler, Antonio Facciuolo, Olivia Ihedioha, Neil Rawlyk, Erin Scruten

Bovine tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium bovis is a debilitating disease that can spread to humans and other domestic and wild animals. While more prevalent in the developing world, where it leads to annual losses of about $3 billion, managing the disease also carries a multi-million-dollar price tag in Canada. Johne’s disease caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) results in chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract in cattle.

To protect cattle against these diseases, we are working to develop new vaccines and companion diagnostics that differentiate between vaccinated and infected animals.

A genomics-based approach termed reverse vaccinology was used to identify candidate proteins that have the potential to stimulate a protective immune response in cattle. These proteins are now being screened to determine which are expressed during infection, and which are antigens that can cause an immune response. Promising candidates will then form the basis for developing novel vaccines and immunization strategies.